Monday, September 11, 2017

Things We've Learned So Far

So, we have been in our new home for almost a month now! We made a big change with our living situation, so we are obviously learning some things and have some thoughts on our new situation. At dinner this evening, Chris and I discussed out thoughts on everything so far…and we want to share some of these with you here!

This is a random list, in no particular order :)

:: We have already determined that all the space we used to have — well, it was unnecessary. Honestly. We only needed that much space because we had so much stuff. The lack of space in our RV isn’t bothering either of us. We do feel that it is the “American Way” to want more stuff, more space, more everything. It feels good to go against that.

:: Our stove and oven are propane gas, and that has certainly been an adjustment. It seems to cook much faster, and doesn’t need time to preheat — both of which are nice! I have to light the oven with a pilot and flame, which is new to me but quite easy. I’m still getting the hang of the menus I need now, because I only have space for one thing in the oven; so I am trying to use my steamer and crockpot more. This is all an adjustment, but not a negative one!

:: We are still without internet access in the RV…boo…we are on their schedule for set up, but it has yet to happen. We are having trouble living without wifi, and it is causing some added charges to our data plan. This, however, is a temporary issue…we should be set up soon!

:: Along those same lines, we need internet in order to set up the Apple TV we got. We decided we didn’t want to get cable, etc…we’re just going to get the tv apps we want. So, we are anxious to get that set up, but we have honestly found the local channels to be sufficient for now. Neither of us have watched much tv over the years, so it has been kind of fun watching the game shows, America’s Got Talent, the sitcoms, etc!

:: We can’t really envision much travel happening in the RV, for two reasons. One, towing the trailer is quite stressful and you have to really look ahead in the journey to avoid pitfalls. Two, we have it set up for full-time living…so we would really have to batten down the hatches every time we move it…that would be kind of tricky! We shall see. It was part of our plan to travel more…and we still might. We just aren’t sure.

:: The shower in the RV is actually great! It has plenty of space, and the water is hot and lasts plenty long. Yay!

:: This thing moves. More than we expected. We are investing in some stability tools that will hopefully help…some supports for the slide-outs, as well as for the 5th wheel portion. Chris also bought some stabilizers that go between the wheels. Our metal shelter prevents movement from the wind, but walking definitely makes it move. We are to the point where we constantly feel like we are moving (like on a cruise ship)…even when we are not in the trailer! It’s an interesting phenomenon, sitting at our desk at work, feeling like we are moving! We are working to improve it.

:: It has been an adjustment, not having a garbage disposal or a dishwasher. It is harder than you would think, preventing food from going down the drain! As for dishes, we have a new system in place — I wash and Chris dries. It’s become a nice time of togetherness :) I am very appreciative of his help!

:: We have other new “processes” in place that could be seen as annoying, but aren’t really bothering us at all. For example: the two dog crates don’t fit in the trailer, so every night we bring them out of the under storage…and every morning we put them back (because the dogs sleep in them). We also have to help both dogs up and down out of the trailer because they can’t maneuver those stairs. And there is a community trash can, so in the evening we’ll put the daily trash in our little trash can, and then we deposit it in the main trash can when we leave for work. All just part of our new system.

:: Chris is feeling lazy; lazy is not a feeling that he enjoys! Taking away endless yard work and things to be done around a 3000 square foot house, he now has a lot more time on his hands. He is taking the season to rest a bit, but will soon use this extra time to read the Bible more, do more reading, start training for his next event. I, however, am quite enjoying having less on my to-do list!

:: The black water and gray water system isn’t as tricky as we anticipated. Being parked in our spot, we are connected to the county water. So we can leave our gray water tanks open and flowing. Gray water is water from the sinks and shower. The black water is from the toilet, and we empty it about once a week. We use some chemicals there and it’s working well. Emptying is very easy; we pull a lever outside and it empties in the pipe that’s connected…then we close it off. No biggie!

:: One thing we haven’t had to do yet is refill the propane tank — so the jury is still out on that! We have two tanks, and we are still on the first one.

:: We are less concerned about things being perfect — this RV is obviously going to have things come up. The bedroom door doesn’t latch well; one recliner pops up unexpectedly at times; the pantry door sticks because it is slightly bowed. These things would upset us in a house, because we knew they would need to be fixed before selling. It’s different in the RV.

:: Chris and I are both very tidy by nature, which is extremely beneficial when living in a small space with another person! We don’t have a lot of clutter and we pick up along the way. 



Our first few weeks have gone very well…we are adjusting and creating new routines. We are enjoying our new season!!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Photo Tour of our RV!

We are excited to share our new space with you! These photos should give you a good idea of our new living arrangements...take a look!

The couch in our living room, flanked by two small end tables. The couch
pulls out into a bed, as well! The trailer also came furnished with curtains, throughout.
The entertainment center. The trailer came furnished with this large tv, and an antennae
for local channels. There is a good amount of cabinet storage surrounding the tv,
and underneath is an electric fireplace!  There is also a built in stereo, which also
connects to outdoor speakers! We've set up the dog beds in this area, as well.
This area is a slide-out, which makes our living area much larger.
The other side of the living room, opposite the entertainment center.
Two very comfy recliners with some drink holders between them.
This area is also a slide-out, doubling our space.
The dining area, which is on the same side as the recliners.
We added a cute Ikea cart, for extra storage space.
A view from the living room, toward the opposite end of the trailer.
The three steps lead up into the bathroom/bedroom area.
Right past the dining table is the door to exit.
One side of the kitchen. The stone archway is one of our favorite features
of this particular trailer! The stove and oven are gas, and the microwave
is right beside it. There are shelves on either side of the arch, which creates
a lot of extra storage space. The side to the right is all of our spices.
The other wall of the kitchen has a great counter area for displaying things
like our Keurig coffee machine, etc. Extra counter space is always needed!
There is also a window...but this one faces our metal structure, so we typically keep it closed.
This is a closeup shot of the other side of the stone arch...it holds our mugs and glasses.
A full shot of our whole kitchen...pretty spacious! The kitchen island definitely
helps create a nice space. We have a good-sized sink and lots of storage here as well.
The dog dishes are set up at the end of the island. The dark door to the left is
the pantry, and there is a stainless steel fridge, full-sized. There is also fun lighting
all around the island, which is really pretty in the evenings!

Just another view, looking from the steps into the dining/living areas.
We have a ceiling fan in the living room area, and nice laminate that looks
like wood flooring. There is carpet on the perimeter areas.
Our bed...it is king sized, which is actually larger than what we had in our house!
We added a foam topper, and it is quite comfy! There is a small window next to
one side. This area is also a slide-out, which increases our space in the bedroom. This
is new bedding that I bought...we removed the bedding that came with the trailer.
Fun feature! Our bed mattress lifts up to reveal more storage underneath!
There are hydrollic shocks to keep it lifted on its own. There is also carpet here.
The other side of the bedroom has a dresser with six large drawers, underneath a
big window. The trailer also came with a tv mount, and we added our own tv.
My "scrapbook room" is now this cabinet plus one other small cabinet! Since I
mostly scrapbook digitally now on my phone, I was able to sell most of my supplies.
I kept a small stash so that I can finish out what I need to for our own
memories, and also to work on some albums I do for a friend.
And just for fun, a shot of our little bird area across from our trailer...
no birds have stopped by yet, but I know they will find us soon!
The only thing I haven't shared is the bathroom...and that is mainly because it is small and difficult to get photos of! It is a decent space though...toilet, sink and small counter area, medicine cabinet with mirror. We also have a full sized shower with very hot water! Yay! There is also a good amount of storage in there, which is nice!

As you can see...it's super cozy! We are so happy with our space -- we just look at each other with big goofy grins sometimes! Life is so good! This feels very "right" for this stage of our life.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Photo Tour of the Townhouse!

Now that the townhouse is all set up, we wanted to share a little photo tour with you! Aspen and Mimi decorated and it turned out so cute!

Upon entering the townhouse, there is a little foyer area...there's a
bookcase there with decorations and Chris' collection of antique books.
You then walk in to the large living room. The ceilings are very high
(the townhouses on either side of this unit are two-story). The floor is a new
laminate that looks like wood. There is also an electric fireplace!
Another shot of the living room! We'll be hanging a painting
over the couch, but haven't gotten to that yet! It's a cozy little area!
The kitchen has white cabinets, and is accented with red walls.
The washer and dryer are also in this area!
Aspen's bedroom! It is a good sized room, and she fixed it up so cute!
She also has a skylight, and a little nook with a bean bag chair!
Mimi's bedroom! Her nice furniture set fits into the space so nicely, and she was able
to find a place for all of her special things. She also has two closets!
This is the main bathroom of the house. There is also another bathroom
off of Mimi's room. There are a lot of cute details in this room,
and the shower is newly remodeled in pretty tiles.
 So there you have it! The ladies are all settled in, and making it their own. Next up, we'll share a photo tour of our 5th wheel!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Going RV!


We had planned to pick up our new Heritage Glen fifth wheel trailer on the Tuesday after we moved everything in to the townhouse...but the dealership needed to push that to Wednesday. So, we had two days where Chris and I were basically "homeless"! We called on our dear friends, Kim and Gary, and asked to use their beautiful guest room -- thankfully they said yes!!

Wednesday afternoon, we took a few hours off work and headed to Baird, TX to pick it up! The process was very easy -- signed the paperwork and then met with a very knowledgeable guy who did a "walk-thru" with us. He showed us how everything works and gave us tips on full-time living. He helped us hook the trailer up to Chris' truck, and then we started our trip to our new spot!

Neither of us had any experience pulling a trailer of this size...and yes, there were a few fun "experiences" along the way!

: The road we turn on to get to the RV park, we didn't realize before, is a narrow one-lane bridge with metal railings. Chris attempted to turn onto this road, with no luck...so, with me standing in the road and a few cars (including a police officer) waiting behind us to get by, we backed up and decided to try coming in from the other end of the road.

: At this point, we unfortunately, direly needed gas! The new truck, especially when pulling the trailer, sure does guzzle the gas. So, we made a pit stop at the gas station...and the trailer didn't quite fit under the metal awning :( So again,  I was standing in the middle of the Main Street of this town and Chris backed up the trailer (not an easy thing!). There may have been a few cuss words.

After these experiences, we finally made it to our RV Park, and the wonderful owner, Forrest, offered to back our trailer into the space. He was definitely a pro at that, and he got it situated with rooms for the pop-outs. Yay!! Forrest and Lisa are so nice, and are good neighbors to have!

This guy did the walk-thru with us, and showed us everything we needed
to know about owning a trailer. I wish we would have taken notes :)
Here we are -- the proud owners of our new home on wheels!
Forrest, the owner of the RV Park where we are staying, offered to back
in the trailer for us...and thank goodness! He was definitely a pro
at it, and situated our trailer perfectly underneath the metal covering.
All snuggled in to our new spot! Fits perfectly, and even allows space for
my car to park under the roof. The shelter protects us from wind and rain, and keeps
us a lot cooler under the TX sun. It should keep us warmer in the winter, too!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Selling a House / Buying a Townhouse

Have you ever been on a cruise? I highly recommend it! You are out in the middle of the ocean, with no internet connection or cell service -- which allows (forces) you to actually unplug and get the relaxation you direly need! This is exactly what Chris and I experienced on board our Carnival Freedom ship for seven days!

The timing of our trip was not ideal...but I can tell you, now, that it was actually perfectly timed. Just another example of God working throughout the whole process! We had planned this cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary...and then we sold our house unexpectedly and the buyers wanted to close the day we returned home! Without this week away, I'm not sure we would have mentally or physically made it to closing...we were so exhausted from all the solid, hard work we'd been doing for a month in very hot Texas weather. It was just what we needed to feel refreshed enough to come back and finish it all off! What a blessing!

So the timeline -- we were on the cruise from Saturday to Saturday; we spent Sunday doing last minute packing and cleaning; and we closed on both our house and the townhouse at 8:00 a.m. Monday morning. Yes, it was a whirlwind!

The closings went well and fairly quickly...and then Chris had to work for a few hours while the rest of us headed to the townhouse to begin unpacking our two Mini storage units that Pete delivered for us. Just a little side note -- if you are ever in a situation where you need to pack stuff and have it moved at a later date -- these Mini pods are a great solution! The company here had great customer service, and it all worked out very smoothly.

Monday was a very full day...we all know that moving is hard work and very tiring. And throw INCREDIBLY HOT into the mix, too. Aspen and her boyfriend, Geordon, were a HUGE help and we were able to get the majority of the stuff unloaded by the time Chris returned from work. Then, the guys were able to work on moving the heavy stuff. We all helped the girls get things set up where they wanted, and the townhouse came together so nicely! It looks very cute!

It's going to be a great little home for them both, a place to call their own!

Last minute cleaning of our house...it was a
bittersweet day, being in this awesome house for the very last time.
Upon arrival at the townhouse, we discovered that the previous owner had left a bunch of junk behind. Not fun. We piled it all up from the attic, storage room, etc and our amazing realtors had a great team come over to do some cleaning and cart away everything left behind.
Amidst all the hard work, crazy Aspen still found a little time for fun!
She had Geordon push her on the dolly!
An empty Mini pod! What a great sight to behold!!
Moving, of course, is pretty confusing for the four-leggers! Poppy was a bit
freaked out, but Ocho took it more in stride. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted,
and we got a chuckle to see that Ocho found a new perch on the green pillow!
Aspen and Mimi, may you two ladies make many wonderful memories together in your new place!
The Moving Crew!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Falling into place!

Hi there! This is just a very quick post, to assure you all that we are still alive and kicking :)

All the pieces are falling into place...but as they are, we've been super busy getting it all done. I'll be posting soon about everything we've been tackling the past few weeks! Bear with me...we don't have wifi at our our new place yet, so I'm limited!

Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Great Tile Debacle

We knew from the beginning that replacing our cracked tiles in the kitchen was going to be a big deal...we did not, however, anticipate it becoming The Great Tile Debacle!

And debacle it was!

I've mentioned a bit about our situation briefly in previous posts...this has become such an ordeal that I do believe it deserves its own post!

ORIGINAL SITUATION
We have travertine tile in the kitchen, entry, laundry room, dining nook, and hall bathroom...all connected. First thing I will tell you -- if you are ever choosing tile, do NOT choose travertine. It's pretty, but very fragile. It scratches and cracks very easily. We had a handful of tiles in the kitchen that were cracked, and we told the buyers that we would fix them. We also felt the whole area needed to be resealed to give it a fresh coat.

TILE GUY #1
The first tile guy came out to survey our needs. He developed a good plan and we moved forward. He needed to purchase additional tiles because we didn't have any extras...this was our first issue. It took awhile to find the match, and then since it has been five years since our floor was installed, the new batch of tile is a little lighter now. Tile Guy #1 felt that using a stone enhancer should bring the colors closer together. When he began to replace the tiles, we discovered our second issue. It turns out, a lot of our tiles are hollow underneath -- meaning they did not adhere to the slab as they should have, when installed during our build. This hollowness is a big reason why the tiles are cracking. It's not the whole floor, but a lot of it. So, when he removed one tile and the surrounding tiles weren't attached to the floor, those came up as well and could not be re-adhered. So, three tiles turned into nine, all in one spot. Our third issue is that the new tiles did not darken as expected, so the new tiles, in this big batch of nine, are very obvious. Not good. The fourth issue is that Tile Guy #1 did not remove the existing seal, and he also did not use the same seal; so the new seal did not soak into the tiles -- instead, it created a scummy, goopy, greasy mess over the entire floor. After we waited for it to dry (which is didn't), we scrubbed it with water and soap on our hands and knees to remove the crud...and what was left was a streaky, awful mess. Our final issue is that Tile Guy #1 had been paid, and no longer feels he has any stake in this game...he has been no help in solving our current problem. In his mind, he's done. A few photos are below, and they really do not do enough justice to JUST HOW BAD OUR ENTIRE FLOOR LOOKED.

The color variation

The weird spots where the seal reacted with the existing seal -- and the resulting scum

Oh the scum

TILE GUY #2
Our amazing realtors, Teri and Shanda, calmed our stress and assured us that they would take this over and get it done...bless them! I don't know what we would do without them both! They found Tile Guy #2, who came and took a look. He decided the whole floor needed to be completely stripped with a chemical (we would need to stay off the floor for 48 hours); then he would replace a few extra tiles and move a few of the new ones to balance out the lightness; and then he would reseal the whole floor (this would be another 48 hours). Sounded great! But then he looked at his schedule and told us he couldn't fit our very tight time frame into his. So, Tile Guy #2 was out.

TILE GUY #3
Enter Tile Guy #3. His plan was to buff/sand/scrape the initial seal (plus the crud) off the tiles (we would not have to stay off the tile during this phase); replace a few tiles; and then reseal the whole floor (staying off for 48 hours).

I am happy to report that as of today, they have completed the floor and it looks really nice! They literally scraped off so much crud, it was amazing. Once they had the tile back to its original state, they replaced a few and resealed the entire floor. Now we will wait a day for it to completely dry, and then for the next day we can only walk on it in socks. We are so close!

They used these tools to completely sand all of the seal layers off

Using a scraper and a rough pad, they removed all of the scum


It's looking so pretty now!

BIG SIGH OF RELIEF!!!
I dare say our debacle is now over...tentatively and thankfully. What an ordeal. A big thank you to our realtors, Teri and Shanda, who took over and really got this finished for us. Also, to Mimi for being home to let them in so many times, and to Kim (my bestie) for coming over this morning (which was the first morning of her 30 day Sabbatical!) to sit with the dogs while they finished up.