Sunday, June 10, 2018

Moving-In Week!

I've purposely avoided updates on our house.  This is because, no matter how hard we worked, we could not seem to pull it out of that unfinished-looking stage.  There always seemed to be ladders, sheetrock dust (still is), paint cans, wires, holes that needed something in them .....  and all accessorized with an abundance of tools strewn about.  I was tired of posting pics of the process and was beyond ready to show the results.  

So to bring 'er up to date, I'll mention a few "highlights" from along the way ......

Painting the exterior of the house was a lot of work, but the rewards were immediate.  We opted for three colors (all shades of taupe) which meant a LOT of taping.  But we're happy with the results.

The garage doors arrived in the perfect color.  We did not have to paint them.  Hooray!

The interior walls and ceilings were a big job and weeks later we're still finding spots to touch up, but again ..... happy.  Then (insert creepy theme music) came the job of painting our interior trim, meaning all the base boards, window trim, door frames, etc., that Husband had dutifully constructed and installed himself.  Plus the doors had to be painted.  [Need I mention that every inch of trim had to be caulked (by yours truly), which is absolute death to a manicure.]

Our builder (Don), builder-friend-Alan, and Favorite-First-Son-Who-Is-A-Builder ..... ALL said they paint their trim last.  This means after the walls and ceiling are painted, and after the flooring is installed.  (But, thankfully, before the carpet arrives.)  Okay, so we did.  That was when I discovered that the entire world of Youtube how-to videos is shaking its head and saying, Don't do it, you fool".  Thus I learned by sad experience that when painting one's trim LAST and with a powered paint sprayer that blasts wet paint willy-nilly in the general direction one points it, means one is about to plunge into the outer darkness of painting-PREP.  One day we literally spent 14 hours taping and then spent approximately 14 minutes spraying everything we had taped.  And that was only a few rooms.  We bought rolls and rolls AND ROLLS of masking tape, and returned to the store several times to buy more.  This was worse than laying 1200 square feet of wood flooring and three rooms of tile.

This was worse than the wiring.  (Husband may disagree.)

This was Masking-Tape-Hell. 

Everything that couldn't be removed, had to be covered and taped, including the floor.  At one point, I had a small meltdown and had to walk away, indulge in a good cry, then go back to work.  It took us four and a half LONG days.  THAT is one job I will NEVER do again. (Standing with clenched fist.)

Thus our DIY-resolve weakened and we broke down and paid gobs of money to a couple of angels who paved our entire patio.  Ahhhhh.  Who says money does not buy happiness??  (The driveway and front sidewalk are yet to come and still remain on our DIY list, as is our tiled shower in the master bathroom.)

The large rock on the right came from where our front door is now.  We had the excavator move it to this spot.  Grandkid seating.

Long story short, the carpet in the bedrooms will be installed tomorrow and then we're moving in.  (We're actually just sleeping in the RV at this point, as our beds are still in storage.)  Over the past several weeks, each time we've headed o'er the mountains, we've brought back a load in our utility trailer.  So we have a portion of our stuff here.  We'll bring the remainder in a mega U-Haul and then our life as motorhome dwellers will officially come to an end.

A few pics:
The counter backsplash is yet to come.

The wood stove and I are already becoming great friends.  Best heat ever.

I chose this light fixture very early on, and nicknamed it "the fun light".

I included this shot to show Husband's skills.  He built that drop-ceiling-thing from which the lights are hanging.  (T'was NOT fun getting it up there.)  That last piece of trim at the top of the range hood is on eternal back-order.

And the above is because we live on Quail Rd.  

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Are we glad we did the RV thing?

I sat and visited with a small group of women after church today (which included Debbie, a fellow RV-er) and some expressed their wishfulness that they too could try the RV lifestyle.  One was caring for an aged parent, plus her husband did not share her wanderlust.  The other had circumstances that prevented leaving hearth and home.  Debbie and her husband agreed to sell their home and do two years in their 5th wheel.  They're one year into it and she is hoping to extend longer.  She loves it.

Then later today I got a Facebook message from an old friend living on the other side of the country who asked about our feelings regarding our two-plus years in our motor home.  I started to type out my response, then decided to write it in a blog post ..... since I can get rather long-winded on subjects on which I fancy myself somewhat in the realm of *expert*.

So here goes ....

Hi Etta!  So good to hear from you.

We are still living in the "Beast" since we are in the final stages of finishing our home.  So we haven't tried to sell it yet.  If it sells easily (fingers crossed!) then ..... we'll have no regrets.  If it doesn't, then ..... we may regret it big time.  The RV market is still in gang-buster mode, so we're not worried.  Husband watches the ads frequently, and comparable rigs are selling for a decent price.  But it was 10 years old when we bought it, and these things do anything BUT go up in value.

The first year was very different than the second year.  We traveled over a lot of the western US and saw much of Washington, including Mt. Rainier, Leavenworth, and discovered our favorite -- the Palouse in eastern WA.  We did Coeur d'Alene (thank you Spell Check!), Glacier Nat'l Park, Mt. Rushmore and surrounding country.  We saw amazing sights in SE Oregon I'd never before heard of, revisiting our beloved Utah canyons, St. George, Lake Powell, and finally visited Sedona, AZ (my brother has been nagging me for years to go there).  We saw Death Valley, Yosemite, Sequoia Nat'l Forest, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs (aaaahhhhh!), some of the California coast and other parts of CA that go under the heading of, "Once is quite enough".  We also experienced Quartzite, AZ, (google it) and Yuma, and a fair amount nearby.  So all in all, it was a great year ..... and a BUSY year since we also married off our youngest and I had two surgeries.  Phew!

The second year was very different.  We bought property and decided to build The House.  Thus we have been stuck in a well-traveled rut between New Home and Old Home town ....... back and forth ..... working on said house and managing affairs on the old home front.

The first year was fun and adventurous and totally non-productive.   The second year was monotonous, exhausting, and VERY productive.  And after a winter on wheels in central Oregon, I am RV-ed out.  I cannot WAIT to move into a real house again with limitless water, a washer/dryer, a wood stove, space, etc.

Are we glad we did it?  So far ..... YES.  Would I do it again?  No.  I'm done.  I learned that I enjoy the ease and simplicity of living in 300 square feet, but I don't like driving my entire house down the street.  I don't like going to much-necessary dump stations.  I'm tired of "navy" showers.  (If you are camped in an RV park with all the hookups, none of that matters.  But those usually cost anywhere from $25-$70 a night.  We usually spent in the $30/night range.)  I prefer traveling in something smaller and we plan to buy another more compact RV for future traveling.  There's a lot to be said about bringing your own bed along wherever you go.  But no more 100% full-timing for us.

My advice if you're seriously thinking about it --

Do not buy new.  These rigs are notorious for their glitches.  Let someone else work through them before you buy it used.  Plus the initial depreciation is off the charts.

5th wheels make a lot of sense over motor homes and are probably more popular .... but they require a sizable pickup to pull them so you're spending big bucks regardless.  Motorhomes have the engines of a semi-truck, so they can be built with more quality materials, like real wood cabinets, tile floors, etc.  5th wheels simply can't load on that much weight so you see more vinyl and plastic.

Our Beast is 40 feet long with three slides, and we wouldn't have wanted to be in anything smaller since it has been our only home.  It is a Country Coach which is known for quality.  We watched RVTrader online for months and found it in Vancouver, WA, sold by a private party, with less than 20K miles.  We knew what we wanted well before we found it and I still think it has one of the best floor plans.  But when it needs to go in for repairs .... we are homeless.

Tips:  Make sure that at least one of you has a minimum amount of mechanical prowess.  I have none, but being married to one who has, and can keep a cool head ..... is a great comfort and help.
Read RV blogs, and follow some RV podcasts.  There are a lot out there and they love to give advice. Some of these people have been living the lifestyle for years.
A lot of RV-ers just do the snow-bird thing.  The more miles you travel, the higher the cost .... obviously.  (Consider 7 MPG.)  So if you go somewhere and stay there for a while before moving on, it's less expensive.  And if you can dry camp (AKA boondocking, via solar panels and generator) on public land, it gets cheaper yet.  (There are helpful apps to tell you where to go for that.)  And Walmart over-nights are definitely the way to go if you're just passing through.
Follow the weather.  Do NOT winter in central Oregon.

My old posts in this blog give a lot more details.  I'll link to a few below.  This lifestyle is very alluring when life gets over-bearing.  It is all about ESCAPE which we all long for now and then.

Let me know if you have any more questions and I'll blab some more.  All the best to you and yours.


PS -- If anyone cares about photos and/or house updates.  More are coming SOON to a computer/phone/devise near you .........

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Two years ...... and "only shades of gray"

On March 21 (the beginning of Spring) it will be two years of living in a rolling box.

Hang yer hat on that one.

Has it been worth it?  Would I do it again?

Yes and no.

If you are a low-stress person like the one to whom I am married, you can check off one of several requirements necessary for living in an RV.  I am not that person.  I envision every catastrophe possible as we're rolling down the road, navigating through tight traffic and into minuscule gas stations, crowded parking lots, and tent-sized camp sites.  Visually no lane on any road is wide enough nor was ever intended to accommodate anything this big.  (That's how it seems.)  And although we are now pros at prepping the Beast for a trip, and for setting up when parked, I still do not like moving the thing.  Which kind of defeats the whole point.  Husband loves to take it on the road, confident that all obstacles can be overcome, because he's the other type of person.  (See above.)

I DO like living in it when stationary in places like Palm Springs where it's warm in January and there's a swimming pool and jacuzzi just steps away.  Or when you can visit out-of-state relatives and still sleep in your own bed.  Having your entire house with you wherever you go, has its advantages.  Imagine never having to pack a suitcase or worry you'll forget something.  You not only have all your belongings with you, you even brought your own toilet.  Pretty cool.

On the other hand, being stuck in an RV out in a remote part of the world, through a cold and seemingly endless winter ..... that part I'd have to think long and hard about before signing up for another year.

So .... while I have no regrets, I don't want to do it again.

Unless we'd be wintering in Palm Springs.  Or Yuma.  Of course.

And now ..... house update.

"But today there is no day or night
Today there is no dark or light
Today there is no black or white
Only shades of gray"
(The Monkees, 1969)

The Finish-it-Ourselves phase has begun!  We spent last week painting the inside.  The still-freezing-at-night weather is forcing us to delay painting the outside for now.

"Fifty Shades of Gray" is another fitting title for our color choices.  More specifically, make that six shades of gray and counting. I have banished all beige from my life, and gray reigns as my new neutral.   Yes, since there aren't a lot of clouds outside, we'll create them inside.  If you're not feeling the gray-love with me, be patient.  The end result, as it exists in my mind, will be gorgeous.  Yes ..... darn it, it will.  You'll see.

The photo makes it look darker than it is.
Husband wanted to spray the whole thing, ceilings and all, one color.  I belong to the Likes-White-Ceilings camp.  (I learned at the paint store and online, that I am not alone.)  Therefore, we compromised.  The two guest rooms, guest bath, and laundry room have white ceilings.  And the den, which we painted a darker shade of gray, has a light gray ceiling -- the same light gray as most of the rest of the house.  I love my white ceilings but the price was -- I got to roll and edge all the associated walls (double coats) which took an additional two days.   Needless to say, it's much slower than spraying.  But white ceilings are light and bright and go with everything!  I can change the wall colors some day, if I want, without having to repaint those blasted 10-foot high, overhead surfaces.  Excellent investment for the future, I say.

Experimenting with exterior color combos (during a brief warm spell) and the rock is done!  (That front door is a temp till the permanent one arrives.)

The other great news is .... we can use our garage!  I mean, we can actually put things in it and it's not in anyone's way.  This means ..... storage!  Tools!  Equipment!  Our still crated wood stove!  You know .... stuff!!  The garage doors are still a couple of weeks away (back ordered) so we can't drive into it yet.  AND it has lights with switches and everything!  (It's the little things ....)

Next: Flooring.  Tile and hardwood.  The soreness has just begun.