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!