Sunday, December 27, 2009

On to the Next Stage

Christmas has come and gone. It was rainy, but warm, and we drove to St. Pete where everyone was waiting on us to open presents. The kids opened their stuff first, then they went to play and the grownups began. Gary got a snake lite and we got RV books. Then we proceeded to cook, assemble Graham’s kitchen, take the kids for a walk, cook some more, eat dinner and then the disaster. The dishwasher had been sounding funny, and when Michelle started it up, it started leaking all over the floor. We used every towel we could grab and Brian and I baled water out of the bottom so that the door could be closed without leaking. That accomplished, it was 8:30 and Gary’s feet were hurting so bad, we left. Whew. Twelve months until next Christmas, and I’m not sure where we’ll be. Christmas is so commercial, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Anyhow, I’m looking forward to getting rid of Gary’s ‘rash’, getting a clear report on his PET/CAT scans tomorrow, wishing his eye would be better, a good checkup, losing the six pounds I put on and getting to work on our dream. There’s so much to do, and we can’t do any of it until we are fit to go – which will not be long. Only 8 days, and Granny will be gone. How strange that will feel…

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good News and More Good News

Gary finished up his foot radiation on Monday, and he was really feeling a lot of pain, so asked the Dr. for some meds. We stopped at Walmart to put in the prescription and I grabbed some more giant bandaids. Poor guy. On the way back to my car in the parking lot, there was a beautiful sunset. I wish I had had the camera. I wish I had been on the beach! The Venice radiation office called to cancel his appointment today because they need a physicist to recalibrate the radiation machine. They will call when it is ready knowing that Gary is MORE than ready to get this stuff gone. I doubt it will be before Christmas. There are only 15 more days till Granny goes to NC. It will be a big change for her and Mandy and us, but I’m ready for it! We are contemplating selling the house if we love this fulltiming thing, but not until next year. The value will rise a little by then, too. We keep looking for a MH, and see some good ones out there, but can’t do anything about it yet. Guess what? The phone just rang, and it’s THEM. First treatment today at 4 PM. Yippeee! We’re in the car and gone… It’s now 8pm and we are ecstatic. The Dr. who built the thing says that he has done this many, many times and Gary is one of the least affected he’s seen. All the other patients have responded really well, so he expects full recovery for Gary! In the big picture, who knows if our health will last? But if our health doesn't last, at least we will say we had some fabulous years. We’re going to look online for MHs now – later J!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fun Day/Terrifying Day

The weather forecast was 84 and sunny with morning fog so we said “GO” to the christening of our SEAEAGLE 380x. Should we take it to the Lido Key or Turtle Beach on Siesta Key or try the Myakka River? We’ve never done a river so let’s go there. We might even get to talk to a volunteer. Twelve minutes later we were at the Welcome Station where the ranger said it was good water and an easy put-in place was at a bridge about a mile in. I love this Florida State Park. We took an airboat tour here with Gary’s parents a couple of years ago and saw plenty of alligators, birds, fish and plants. We again visited to climb the Canopy Walk, a specially built system of towers and a suspension bridge to study treetops in the forest by a Dr. Margaret Lowman, a canopy scientist and mother that had a threefold objective as Selby Gardens’ director: to entrance the public with a little known method of study, encourage students and schools to take an interest in the ecosystem through research projects, and carry out Selby’s research objectives. But today it was to get on the water and try out our new kayak. There were a lot of curious looks as we opened up the boat, spread it out, hooked up the pump and in 12 minutes everything was ready to go!

Down the bank we went, I jumped in the front, Gary pushed me in a little, hopped in the back and with a little bit of shoving with the paddles, we were off. The fog was nearly gone, but because there was no breeze, the clouds were kinda nice.

My first photos were of a young egret and an immature ibis on the left bank.

About 200 yards downriver where the banks started closing in we saw our first whopper of an alligator.
Now watching them behind an enclosure or from land near our car, they are OK. But my heart is still palpitating as I remember this guy watching us just about 30 feet away and me snapping shots. He suddenly turned towards us and lurched into the water going under. Well, let me tell you, I just about lost it. At least I was quiet about it, but both Gary and I were really uncomfortable seeing them lying so close to us with their eyes open and their teeth sooo visible…Anyhow, a couple of kayakers were behind us in separate boats and we slowed down thinking there might be safety in numbers. John and Ed said there was nothing to worry about. They won’t bother you. I asked if I could get that in writing. They had passed about 50 of them further up river. Yippee – yes, that’s sarcasm. They eyed our SeaEagle and John mentioned that he would like something like that for when he began fulltiming in a couple of years as the hard boats were just too difficult to handle. Did he say fulltiming? Yep, and when I said I found this brand on Howard and Linda’s site he knew about that and he and his wife, Terri, are forum members and planning to attend the Rally in SC in April. Right about then they reached their exit point and left us with promises to find each other at the Rally. What a world, huh? To meet someone on a river that you know will see again in a couple of months and can correspond with in the meantime? Coincidence or North Star? Well, we continued a little further meeting more and more alligators and getting more and more rattled, until we decided we couldn’t enjoy the water knowing there could be man eaters only ¼” of canvas between us and them. We turned around, and headed back to our car. Our plans of going under the bridge with lots of people on it were thwarted because, of course, they were looking at gators IN the water. Paddling hard and furious, we shoved up on the grass, I hopped out, easily pulled the boat up further so Gary could get out, hauled everything up to the parking lot and looked behind us. There was a 10-footer in the water probably saying to himself “Darn, just missed lunch”. This is the stuff nightmares are made of. As we were taking apart the boat, a volunteer stopped by on his bike and talked with us a while. Originally from Michigan, he and his wife fulltime now and this will be his 12th year volunteering for Myakka. The one thing he recommended was to put in an application early (they do two month commitments) and that to have some sort of skill (carpentry, electric, etc.) is really helpful. Well, other than painting, that leaves us with the rest of the crowd who want to work in a really beautiful park where it’s warm all winter. We drove past the camping parks (2) and on up past the lake to the north gate where there were two picnic areas on the water. Absolutely peaceful and quiet; just the chirping of cicadas and crickets. I definitely could get used to this. We headed home to wash off the kayak and it was a cinch. We left it out to dry overnight. After dinner I visited the RV-Dreams forum and indeed did see Eagleshea (John and Terri’s sign-in name). I submitted my first “Get-to-know-you” post and within 15 minutes got replies. What a great community of people helping people. Later, gator. [Oh, my….]

Monday, December 7, 2009


We were a little excited about today because Gary had his appointment with Dr. Patrice in Venice about starting full body electron treatments. If he is accepted into this program, it could mean full remission. The Dr. says it is would be tough: 8-12 weeks, 4 days a week for about thirty minutes, and 1 hour roundtrip. He will confer with the other 3 doctors working with Gary and discuss the procedure and time frame. Chip, the technician, will need to devise lead eye contacts and some type of fingernail protector to eliminate losing them. Then we went over to his regular treatment of his eye and jaw (only one more tomorrow), but Dr. Silverman had already heard from Dr. Patrice and they decided that he would begin treatment on his feet tomorrow as well since the full body won’t be able to reach the soles when he’s standing. We came away thinking that this would be his best chance at beating this because it is still only on his skin and he has been responding well to every radiation treatment so far. I am hopeful, so hopeful.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Honey

Well, Thanksgiving came and went very quietly with a delicious turkey pot pie that I made from leftover “thanksgiving” turkey. But the most exciting thing is that yesterday our new SeaEagle 380x arrived! After Gary’s return from radiation, we opened the box and started putting it together. I did the paddles and the seats, and Gary put the floor in the bottom of the kayak. The footpump is really easy to use and within 6 minutes we had the pontoons inflated to within ¾ depression, seats clipped onto the D-rings, floor inflated and were sitting in it in front of the Christmas tree. But we couldn’t find the straps that held the seats to the floor. Oh, there they are (under the boat). The next thing we had to do was take it down and see if it will fit back into the ‘bag’, which is really a flat piece of vinyl with four flaps that fold up around it. I’m going to sew a bag for the paddles and the pump. We can hardly wait to get it out on the water! We’ll see what the weather is like Friday. There is a huge storm heading our way that should arrive in about an hour. Till later…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Macy's Parade Rant

OK. What is up with the ‘parade’? You used to be able to see the hundreds of members who were specially chosen for this nationally televised program, the hundreds that practiced and worked so hard, hoping to be on TV and show off their skills. But what do we see? Broadway show clips, lots of commercials, and the same ABC, NBC darlings announcing singing people on floats that half the nation doesn’t even know. I don’t want to see singing and dancing shows in front of Macy’s doors, interviews with more darlings in the bleachers in front of the doors, or more commercials. What I want to see are the nattily dressed bands, the incredible floats with (just) waving children and the balloons with all the amazing statistics relayed to us. Not another ‘SHOW’ that some producer thinks will make the numbers. sheesh.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

This morning I woke up excited. Not only was there a great thunderstorm, but after looking for hours at the Sea Eagle site, and checking all over the net and all over town, I decided that Boats 4 Less was going to get a call and an order. I had decided that the 340x deluxe was a good all around for our needs, and since we are not tall people (I’m 5’4” and Gary is 5’8”) we should be able to fit in that. But Crystal talked with me for 30 minutes and in the end the 380x sounded even better (for only $50 more). It will have the deluxe inflatable seats, a free stabilizer, two AB30 paddles that come apart in 4 pieces. When I mentioned that we have grandchildren, she said the paddles could be made shorter for them! And it is 12’ 6” long, a much more comfortable longer ride. At 42 pounds, it isn’t much heavier than the 340 and we’ll be able to fit more gear in it, too. Thanks, Tim and Crystal. She even put a rush (free) delivery on it so that it might just arrive in time for Gary’s birthday next Tuesday! Thanks, Crystal and thanks to Howard (we mentioned that “Harold sent me”). Then we decided to do a little Christmas shopping before Black Friday and headed on to Einstein’s for a lunch bagel. Gary had his favorite: an everything with smoked salmon cream cheese and I had mine: a pumpernickel bagel with plain cream cheese and cucumber slices. The vanilla hazlenut coffee was not decaf, but what the heck, it was only 2 pm. Off to Borders next door, and we found a book for our oldest GC, Lance, all about answers to questions that Lance asks like why is the sky blue, and why do chickens lay eggs? Then Gary dropped me off at Big Lots while he went to have his radiation. I got a couple of stocking stuffers for him. I love our stockings. It’s such a challenge to find neat little things that will fit all the way down to the toe. My mom made my stocking and Gary’s from a 1954 pattern using felt and beads. Everyone in our family has one and as our family grew by marriage and births, I carried on the tradition after she passed. Our daughters will someday receive the pattern from me, and hopefully they will make them for their grandchildren and sons and daughters-in-law too.
Christmas music is filling the air and tomorrow we will get our Christmas decorations down from the attic for the last time. We will be spending Christmas day with Michelle and our family, then driving to Raleigh after the new year, so I will have some time to enjoy our 9’ tree and my dear collection of ornaments one last time before we pack it all away for who knows how many years. But tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays, too! We wake up, have coffee in bed, and watch the Macy’s parade. Then the big dinner preparations begin and delicious smells swirl around the house until the feast is ready. It always amazes me how a meal can take all day to prepare and 10 minutes to eat. Well, until tomorrow… Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gary and the Doctor

Dr. Silverman called to tell Gary that the Venice office has not been able to find the equipment in storage to begin whole body radiation. Since I answered the phone, I mentioned that his eye was very bad and that he was having trouble with his vision. Dr. S said come on in today. When he saw it, he immediately wanted to treat it, but it was so late, they didn’t want to do it in haste, so they took measurements, made the mask, cut out the areas to be zapped, and made an appointment for tomorrow. I must say Gary is being very brave through all this. But surprisingly I am not worried at all. Somehow I trust that this will be controlled and he will live a very long life. My hope is that it can be vanquished into outer space to a galaxy far, far away.
Today was also my mom's birthday. Miss you, Mom. Wish you and Dad knew what we were planning. You'd be proud.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Girls' Club

I so look forward to Girls’ Club each month. Four hours or so with the my girlfriends is so nurturing and fun. I will REALLY miss this when we’re on the road. Maybe I can WebCam with them? Anyway, we talked about what was happening with all of us; we called Donna in the hospital, and called Jean who was recuperating from ‘skin revitalization’, ate, drank and talked while Debbie watched Ohio go into overtime with Iowa winning by a field kick. So SHE was happy. Thanks, Jan for a wonderful meal. We talked about us renting, and maybe Jan or Debbie might be interested – imagine that! All I can say is, we’ll see…

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Turkey Day

We would have loved to go the Tampa RV show, but Michelle was going to Hawaii during the Thanksgiving week, and asked if we could do an early Thanksgiving today. Yesterday I baked a Caramel Apple Cobbler, bought some rolls and corn and off we went after church. It was fun, but hectic and VERY delicious. We really had fun. We took home lots of leftovers that will probably last a week, but I look forward to those leftover turkey sandwiches on potato buns with mayo, cranberry sauce, salt and pepper and that’s ALL. Yes, to die for…or at least gain a pound for. No???

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Garage Sale Day

Of course, neither one of us could sleep anticipating the alarm going off – an appliance we don’t like to use. After our cup of coffee, we moved everything out into the driveway and entertained our first prospect. By noon (after our festive Bloody Mary) we had sold almost everything. One woman bought almost every children’s book for a program her daughter was implementing for low-income children in the school system. A car with three ladies and a son behind the wheel shopped from the car as I brought stuff over to them. Now I am not one to ask the highest price for anything. I want to get rid of as much as possible, so maybe I come up with a little less money, but I don’t put anything back! Yay, garage sale day over until we move. Then we will have an ‘estate sale’. Oh, joy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Garage Sale Prep

Tomorrow is our garage sale, and we have to start preparing today. I have a love/hate relationship with garage sales. The only part I really love is counting the money. The setup, selling, bargaining and cleaning it all up is yuck. But all those dollar bills spread all over the bed afterwards is so much FUN to roll around in! Also, Gary always makes it festive by having our usual Bloody Mary that we share from a paper cup. Finally at 10:30 pm we set the alarm for 6:30, and hit the sack.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Turtle Steps

We packed up and headed out to LazyDayz – the World’s Largest RV Dealer and Camping World next door. We missed the exit which was before the facility, and took a long ride around back looking for it. But hey, we’re practicing for when we’re not in a hurry anymore, and we made it a pleasant diversion instead of the usual aggravated “where ARE we going?!” type behavior. We stopped at Camping World first, and browsed the whole store. I guess everything you need is in there, but it didn’t strike me as particularly large. And most of their stuff wasn’t cheap, either. A lot of things I could have purchased at Walmart for about 30% less but some things are specific to Rvers and that’s why they’re in business. We didn’t stop at LazyDayz as they are in Chapter 11 and we’re being cautious. In my research it’s well known that RV sales are down these past years, and that was obvious when the dealers showed us many repos on their lots. I’m thinking that it’s a good year to buy even though we will finance it, because we still want our house until we are sure Gary is on the road to complete recovery or even better – remission. There’s a rig out there with our name on it. I’m still enjoying the adventures of Howard and Linda Payne. I’m reading their whole blog from the beginning of their adventure until present day, and copying and pasting important parts in a folder. I sure hope we can do this. Turtle steps. Turtle steps…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


We woke to a cloudless, cool morning, ate a tiny breakfast in anticipation of lots of delicious grazing all day, drove 15 minutes, parked and entered the gates. We were so early the park wasn’t even open yet! So we shared a cup of pumpkin spice coffee and a muffin then headed left to Mission Space. Last year I went on this ride, and couldn’t handle it. I’ve had dizzy problems (don’t you say anything, now) since many ear infections as a kid, and was hesitant to do this again. Fortunately they have divided the original ride into a less intense version and the intense version. Even standing in line, the warnings made me jittery and ready to back out. But I decided I could do anything for three minutes. The first minute of launch was much easier than last time, and the rest was enjoyable. Of course, I was the navigator, a full time position I will assume very soon!! What a great day and great food. Gary thinks it would be fun to work at Disney, so we talked with Gust at the Soarin’ ride about his employment with Disney, and he couldn’t speak highly enough about how much fun he has daily after losing his 20 year contractor job. Even living an hour and 15 minutes away, he loves his fun job. Then we talked to Debbie on the shuttle boat. She is a stew and works part time when she is in town. So maybe this will be our winter job to earn some serious money, stay relatively warm and be near family for the holidays. Then off again for more adventure!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not and EPCOT Day

We decided that a 30% chance of rain was too much of a chance for Epcot, so we jumped in the car after scribbling down directions to a couple of other RV dealers around the area. One day I look forward to boating on a lake or Gary fly fishing on a pristine river and catching our own fresh fish dinner. In the mean time tonight we are going to treat ourselves (yet some more) to the Bonefish Grill for dinner using a gift card.
‘Steve’ was better than the last guy; we didn’t even get into his office. Perhaps the line “we are not ready to buy yet” had something to do with that. He politely showed us anything we wanted to look at, but was a little blank in the knowledge department. Then we went to Independence RV and what a difference. We met a young salesman, Justin, and gave him the same line. He said ‘what can I show you?’ and we said used motorhomes with: freightliner or RoadWarrior chassis, 5 or 6 speed Allison tranny, Cummins or Cat 330+ HP… and then he realized we knew our stuff. AND a KING BED. ‘That narrows it down…but’ He led us right over to a beautiful Newmar DutchStar, 2004, low mileage, light wood interior, king bed, etc. He proceeded to tell us that he had watched these beauties not mass produced, but each one built for an individual customer. Could I be gullible?, because everything he said about Newmar sold me on them forever. If we had had the money right then I would have bought that baby and driven it home.
Following him into his office, we were prepared to get up and run, but instead we talked a little about his family and how good the dealership was to him. He gave us his business card, some payment and insurance information, introduced us to a colleague who was also from North Carolina, shook our hands, and we left. We loved that rig so much it took all our willpower to not turn around and say ‘where do we sign?’ That’s the way we wanted to be treated – as customers, not dollar signs.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Salesmen - Yuck

While having our cup of coffee and watching the weather channel (I’m addicted) the roll bar at the bottom of the screen mentioned an RV Center in nearby WinterHaven. I checked out the location on my laptop and off we went! Gary hates any kind of motor place. He knows that the guy needs to sell, and will usually bully you into his office, play games and offer you ‘the best deal’ before you can say no thanks and leave. That is exactly what happened. We looked at fifthwheels (I still like those) and motorhomes, which Gary liked better. Since he will be doing most of the driving, I don’t care which one we choose as long as it has a king bed. A large fridge would be nice too. This is how it went: hard sell, pretending, low offer, meet the boss, more questions, boss leaves, more questions, boss throws out a lower offer, blah, blah blah. We couldn’t wait to escape. Maybe tomorrow will be better. We’re planning on hitting up Epcot for the Food and Wine Festival before our tickets expire if the weather cooperates. But we have to check out TWC in the morning first!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Gary and I left for Epcot for our little alone vacation. Tomorrow we are going to visit RV dealers in the Orlando area. Gary has really decided that a motorhome is his preferred way to travel. But we haven’t decided on our ‘toad’ yet. If we keep the jeep, we can go off road for some fun. The jeep, even with 140K miles on her, is not even ‘broken-in’ yet, whereas the Escape has 150+K and is sounding a little weezy (and is leaking some oil). Our jeep will need some repairs and we’d like to get a new roof and some other modifications done to her, but we decided she will be more reliable (and fun!) than the Escape). Add ‘Sell Escape’ to a post-it note!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yes or No?

I couldn’t sleep last night, tossing and turning, anguished with our decision to discard our dream. It had felt so right, so perfect! Even though there are obstacles that are in our way, I knew that our dream should come true. We made the commitment by announcing to most people that we were going to do this, even our kids. So it will have to happen. I reposted the post-its on the bathroom mirror. We are more determined than ever to follow our dream. Funnily enough, this has never been a long-term dream for us, but has become our long-term future dream. Dream on!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Too Big a Risk

I took down the ‘star chart’ on our bathroom mirror while tears welled in my eyes. Using all our savings, not having a plan to make money on the road, and using all our collateral (home) for a temporary home that would need to be replaced by an even more expensive home down the road is just not the smart thing to do. I was heartbroken. But I didn’t throw them away; I tucked them inside my binder, and closed the cover. A little tiny spark of hope floated around my heart. I knew this was something that my north star said was so right, that I couldn’t just throw my dreams away, so I tucked them away for a while.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Bubble Burst

I haven’t written lately, because our dream was nearly killed. I say nearly, because when we crunched some numbers, the results were very dismal. By selling the house, we would be giving up our only source of security. We don’t have a lot of money, no IRA’s or source of income for when we’re old and gray (or grayer). If we decide to go ahead with this, what will happen when we hang up the keys? Will we be relegated to living in an old trailer, and where?? This idea has to be hammered out until we are both comfortable with the numbers. Our daily living will be adventurous, and yes, we will definitely need an income. We will go to Brian, and ask him to plug in numbers. We will go to Ellen and ask about renting. We have Granny covered, and there is a little guilt there, but now we have committed to doing this. It would not be fair to send Granny to live with Mandy and not go anywhere. So, slowly we are working, planning and dreaming of our big adventure. At the end of our lives, which will we regret more: taking this risk and failing or refusing to take it and never knowing whether we would have succeeded or failed?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Graham

Happy Birthday, Grandson
Well, no one slept very well last night (I ended up on the couch), but Graham woke up chipper and sang ‘happy birthday to me’ all morning. He had his birthday breakfast, then Michelle, he and I spent some quality time together in BJs. I told her our plans and mentioned that we’d need some income to make it work. She suggested getting a cause we believe strongly in, and promoting it on the road through a non-profit set-up where we pay ourselves for the expenses. Gary loved this idea and said his cause would be mycosis fungoides. He would look at the American Cancer Society’s web page and see what they might do to help us spread the word. I looked at ‘online businesses’ and decided that I might be able to sell my photos. At only 25 cents a shot, it’s not very profitable unless I’ve got some really unusual or good photos, but it doesn’t cost a thing. Gary also called Harold from work who RVs (but not fulltime) and he gave us some pointers. He told Gary that a fiver was better than a motorhome costwise and spacewise. So Gary is getting off the “a motorhome is better” soapbox. Yay. A brochure from Montana came today, and he drooled. J

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Following Our North Star

Happy Birthday, my son. Twenty-three and his whole life ahead of him. He already knows what direction his northstar lies and is streaming towards it. What a blessing to be that young and know your purpose on earth. I’m glad that having him was one of my purposes on earth. Michelle asked if we’d like a little bonding time with Graham, so he is staying overnight with us. Tomorrow is his birthday. Already three and I’m wondering what he may love in life. I called Ellen, the realtor used for Michelle and now friend! She is excited for us and will get some info on renting/selling for our area to me. After we both get back from our little vacation, she will come and see the house. Gary and I really don’t want to be absentee landlords, but if we get hired in Orlando, we could hold onto the house and make frequent needed trips back to Sarasota to care for it. Hmmmm. The timing of this is so hard for me. I want to go ASAP, but we have no time frame yet, and so I spend my time preparing and sending for things.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bummer to Hope

Woke up kinda bummed today. Don’t know why. Are we nuts? This all seems like so much work for so much risk. We’d be giving up security for adventure. I spent all day looking at photos on RV Dreams. There is SO MUCH beauty out there, I was nearly in tears. OF COURSE we will be doing this. Gary was now thinking of a motorhome and using the Escape as a toad instead of a fiver. We’re going to the RV show in Tampa the weekend of the neighborhood garage sale. I can hardly wait! That’s also the week that just Gary and I are going to our timeshare in Orlando to attend the Wine and Food Festival at Epcot the last week it is there. We are also going to check out employee options at Disney. This is a very exciting week. One of these days, we are going to tell my kids. Oh, and Tasha is going to Tristan’s in Miami. Won’t he be surprised!

Monday, October 5, 2009

What To Do With This??

What to do today??? We have so much stuff to do something WITH. The hard part is that we don’t know if we’re selling or renting. We could rent it furnished, or sell it furnished, or.. or… So all I did was clean out the bottom four drawers of the secretary. (Don’t know what to do with THAT stuff either). I forgot to mention that shortly after our idea, we called my brother, Bob and ran it by him. He said to go for it. We would also like to boondock (live without hookups) on my brother’s huge property if he’ll have us sometime in the summer. He’s into motors so we picked his brain as to what to look for in a motorhome. He gave us the list of ‘absolutes’, and a list of ‘nice to haves’. Thanks, Bob!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Moving Around

At girl’s club, Debbie C. mentioned to everyone that she was moving. Of course they all asked where to? And we smiled at each other. But I don’t think she wants to rent and take care of a bigger house and yard, but we’ll see. Meanwhile, Jan piped up and mentioned that maybe they might be interested, as they are feeling a little pinch, and love our model. Sooooo, I really need to find out how much we can get for rent by calling Ellen. It’s on a post-it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

El Sine?

El Sine? (The Sign)
Our friend and neighbor stopped by saying she needed to talk to us. It turns out that she is selling her house and wanted us to know before we saw the sign out front. She is going to rent instead, and wants to stay in the house until after the holidays. Is this a sign? We ask her how much she is expecting to pay for a month’s rent, and it is exactly what we would be happy getting for our house. She said she’d think about it, although she did mention that we could be getting more. We said that knowing who was renting was more important. El sine?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Working on the Road

Oct. 1
Working on the Road
I’ve been looking at web sites every day at blogs about fulltiming. RV Dreams is fantastic. Howard Payne is/was a salesman (real estate) and lawyer, and since they needed an income, he built a website and has documented from the day they decided to be full-timers. He puts links on his site for hits and credits. She makes and sells beaded jewelry, cookbooks, and birdfeeders. He downloads photos, blogs and sells clothing with his logo on it. So, WE need to find a job, too. There are jobs available through which is basically volunteering in exchange for free camp sites. We would love to do that for about 4-6 months at a time in DisneyWorld, a dude ranch or any Florida national/state park, even Habitat for Humanity. We can also boondock if our rig is so equipped, and this would be very little per night or free. But we would like to be original and sell or provide some kind of service for the people in campgrounds. Maybe a dog groomer? Maintenance man? It will come to us….

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What Needs to be Done

Sept. 29
What Needs to be done
First note was “call Mandy” and “tell Mom”. This little post-it was for Gary. Four little words that could be potentially devastating. But Mandy took it very well, and said she completely understood. (Joe wants to know what kind of truck we’re gonna get). Granny was perhaps gracious, but told Gary she wondered why they even agreed to come and live with us. I think she’ll be glad to get back ‘home’. So, we’re feeling a little guilty and selfish, but all we need to do is look at the pile of Dr. bills, and we remember why we’re doing this.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Our Star Chart

Sept. 27
Our Star Chart
We’ve made a post-it note board on our bathroom mirror. The first one on the left has the date of Sept. 27, 2009; 12:37pm on it. This is the date we decided to do this little star chart. The last one on the right has Tour the USA on it. In between there are about two dozen notes outlining what we need to do before launch. Oh, joy.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Dream

Sept. 25
Our Dream
So we slept on it and woke up looking into each other’s eyes. We broke into wide grins! We still wanted to do this! YESSSSS. I felt immediately energized. I jumped up and down and around in circles. THIS is what we were meant to do. We could feel it deep inside us just bursting to get out. Look out world – here we come! Suddenly there was work to do, plans to be made, so many things to research, tryout, people to call and news to spread. We revved up our laptops and got to work researching. Gary looked at rigs, I looked at blogs seeing if this fulltiming thing was something we could do on a VERY limited budget. I found which was written by a man who decided in his forties to quit his 6 figure job, sell everything he owned, buy a rig and travel with his wife (no kids) all around the country. They wanted the simpler life, giving back by helping keep this land beautiful. And that was 4 ½ years ago. Amazing? Well, if he could do it, so could we. Nothing was left to guess about on his site. He generously outlined his personal and business budgets every year, and explained everything he could about this lifestyle. We looked at what we had (not as much as he did), but, if we rented, it could be doable. Then we would still have our house to come back to if we wanted to, or sell when the market picked up. He chose a fifthwheel, and we are going for that, too. But it won’t be new like his entire rig. (He did have a very huge house that sold). But we owe nothing on anything, have an annuity we can’t touch without penalties until I’m 59 ½ , our bank account and one other small savings account that’s in a CD maturing in December. We figure that it will take us about 6 months give or take to do whatever with the house and contents, get Granny settled, purchase our rig and pack to go.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Big Day

Sept. 24, 2009
Big Day
Things have been a little monotonous around here for the last couple years. Except for Gary’s ‘illness’. So when he was diagnosed with mycosis fungoides earlier this year, it was a shock. A cracker-jack dermatologist (Dr. Gruman) was the first to be suspicious of the rash that Gary had battled for years with creams and ointments – even biopsies. His symptoms would be roundish, slightly raised and scaly spots from ½” to 3” popping up anywhere, then subside into light pinkish spots and then even disappearing. But some got very swollen, cracked, bled, weeped and painful. Several biopsies, and 3 different results from labs across the country later, there was finally an answer. It was a rare skin cancer that normally (but not necessarily) stayed on the skin. Suddenly the future looked a little precarious, and life reaching into our 70s and 80s and beyond looked very hazy. It was the fulcrum, the straw and the turning point in our lives. We had wanted to do so much, see everything, travel the world. Would that not be possible? The doctors assured us that this rarely went beyond the skin, but they couldn’t guarantee it. He would need PET and CAT scans every six months to take a look inside. Meanwhile, it had to be treated on a daily basis. Larger spots needed radiation, and small ones could disappear on their own or be treated with creams and/or and UVB treatments. Well, now what? Were we doomed to sit around waiting for a cure, or worse - bad news? Nope, not us.

We decided that renting the house, moving Granny back up to North Carolina and buying an RV and traveling the country was what was needed. We were not going to waste any more time. We were going to have the adventures we always wanted ‘someday’. Now was the word that was uppermost in our minds.

This was a huge decision, but right from the conception, we felt it was right. We were following our north star. Thank you, Martha Beck, for your book. We could picture ourselves working at National parks, Disney World or ranches. We would have our own little house on wheels, parked wherever we wanted to be enjoying and cooking outdoors, kayaking, meeting friends we don’t know yet. Deep inside we are both country kids. We loved exploring as children, looking under rocks, and enjoying all that mother nature offers for free. We both did the city thing for years raising our children, buying the obligatory home, cars, memberships. Well, you could take me out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of me. Ditto Gary.

When we thought of this harebrained scheme I remembered my Mom’s journals about the months they spent on the road in their fifth wheel. I dug them out and read them from beginning to end. They were not just on vacation, but living in it. Mind you, they stayed on my aunt’s place in Zephyrhills for free while they were looking for a place to build a new house. But if they did it in a 32’ fifth wheel, so could we. The fifth wheels these days can be like their little one, but many are made with slide-outs which give you instant extra room. It’s not a narrow little tube, but is wide and spacious with stairs!