"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Friday, March 26, 2010

this 'n' that

I forgot to mention in my last entry that we have our washer/dryer back. Camping World called me Tuesday morning and said they have it fixed. I guess the belt came off? That's what they are saying anyway. The tech just had to re-attach it and they ran it through a cycle to make sure it was working properly. I drove over there Tuesday afternoon and picked it up. I thought $131 for the repair was a little steep and told them so. What really burns my grits was the $11.00 charge for "shop supplies". I asked what supplies I was paying for and if they had an itemized invoice of the supplies they used for my job. They just told me it was a "standard charge". I told them it looked to me like just another hidden profit scheme and told them I doubt if they ever will see me in their service department again. I have no problem paying a fair rate for their labor and services but I don't think tagging on "extras" just because it is "standard" is the right way to do business.

Rudee helped me unload and with the help of a 2 wheel dolly, we got the unit back in it's place in the closet of the Montana. Rudee tried it out and all is well. We are back in the laundry business!

I had to go into the office Wednesday and the manager was having a meeting with the inside staff. During the meeting the big boss from the other office here in Indianapolis came in and the two of them had a meeting. I left shortly afterwards and found out yesterday that they had told her she would no longer be a manager and not sure she would have a position in the "new" structure. I guess they are closing down her office but this is the first demotion/layoff I have heard about for awhile. I was told a couple of weeks ago that we would be reporting to the other office from now on and they moved my manager over there last week so there may be some hope for us yet. Nothing to do but wait and see I guess.

Yesterday was frustrating. The reason I had to go to the office Wednesday was for an on line computer upgrade. I did the upgrade but it did not work right. I called the help desk and left a message at 10:30. They called me back at 3:30 and told me they could not do anything unless I was connected at the office (I left after waiting an hour for them to call). I got the techs number and arranged to call him Thursday morning so he could fix my issue. Fast forward to Thursday and I called him when I arrived at the office shortly before 9am. I got his voice mail so left a message. Called again at 10:15 and left another message. Called again at 11:15 and he finally picked up the phone. The download and fix took him about an hour. It was a long morning just sitting around waiting.

We are heading out early tomorrow morning for the truck show in Louisville. We are meeting Steve and Trish in Lebanon and will be staying in Clarksville Indiana which is just across the river from Louisville. We are looking forward to the trip. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

and the beat goes on .....

Sorry for my lack of posting. There has not been a whole lot happening here except the usual. we did get together with Steve and Trish Saturday and attended the Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show. I had won the tickets from a local radio station by being the 9th caller so aside from the $3.00 parking fee it was free. We checked out all the displays at the show and when they wanted to talk to us about new gutters or adding a deck or screen room we thought it was pretty cool to tell them we lived full time in a 5th wheel and were not interested, "Thanks anyway".

There were a couple of other shows going on at the same time in different buildings at the fairgrounds. I couldn't talk Rudee into going to the Reptile Show but I did talk Steve into going into the gun show with me. The girls wanted no part of it and decided to wait in the car and we promised we wouldn't be long.

I am a confirmed "people watcher" and let me tell you, the clientele for the gun show was quite a bit different than the clientele for the flower show :-). Steve is a retired police officer too and he has a nice small handgun that I always admired and was looking for one similar. We looked at several and I ended up finding one for a really good price and decided to go ahead and buy it. I filled out all the paperwork, showed them my I.D. and carry permit, paid the bill and we headed out. Now all I had to do was break the news to Rudee :-).
She was a good sport about it and I even got to ride home "inside" the car instead of chasing along behind it :-).

I have a couple other handguns that I have had for several years that are really too bulky to carry without looking like Wyatt Earp in the old west. My new one is smaller and can be carried comfortably inside a waist band and no one will even know I have it. I hope to never, ever need it but am confident with all the training I have received that should the need arise I can handle the situation.

The weather has been very "spring like" around here. The Easter Lillies are poking through the ground and will soon be blooming and that means that the Morel Mushrooms will not be too far behind. Can't wait!

We are going to meet our Goldwing friends tonight at the L & M Restaurant in Ladoga In. for dinner. This weekend we are planning on attending the Midwest Truck Show in Louisville Ky. The show is free and has several buildings full of "truck stuff". I can feel the testosterone flowing already :-). I will make sure Rudee reminds me to take the camera so I can get some photos for you, and I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

One year anniversary

Monday we celebrated our first full year living in our 5th wheel. Last year while still working on selling our house we moved the Montana over to the KOA here in Crawfordsville and made it our new home.
That first month was probably the most challenging. The water on our site was not turned on yet and I had to stretch 100' of hose to refill our tank every few days. The weather that first month was pretty cold as well and we got our first taste of what living in a 5th wheel in winter is like :-).

Our week ends were spent at our old house cleaning out and having garage sales. That was a lot of work and I was sure happy when it was all done.

Rudee had to commute to Indianapolis to work those first few weeks and she was relieved when her company rolled out the work from home program. Her commute now consists of walking from the bedroom into the living room :-).

The sale of our house closed in May and we have not looked back. We were able to use the proceeds to reduce our debts and get further along in our plans for our future.

Both of us have always enjoyed week end camp outs with our friends and didn't let the fact that we were living in a campground stop us from going camping. We pulled out of the KOA and traveled to area campgrounds for week end stays several times throughout the year.

We have found that living in our 5th wheel vs. our 3 bedroom house is not as big a change as we thought it would be. I guess when you get right down to it, how much space of your house, regardless of how big it is, do you really live in?

We were both a little apprehensive as winter approached. I had been doing a lot of research on how to make our rig "freeze proof" and hoped I was prepared.
We started the winter off a little rough with a pesky furnace problem we couldn't seem to resolve. When we finally found and replaced the faulty part (under $10.00 grrrrrrrr) we were good to go.

The weather this winter was a nice challenge for us. We had some lows a few nights below zero and a long stretch with high temperatures in the teens. Through it all we were warm and comfortable. We kept the thermometer set at around 72* during the day and 68* at night. We augmented the furnace with electric heaters to help maintain the temperature and our 100 lb propane tank lasted 10 days during the coldest spells. We did keep a small stream of water running at night when the temperatures were in the single digits. I don't think we would have frozen up by not doing this but why take the chance.

I have tracked our utility bills and we have spent just over $1000.00 for electric for the year (avg. $85.00 per month) and we have used approximately $620 worth of propane ( avg. $51.75 per month). Sounds like a lot but compared to what we were paying at our house we are saving an average of $120 per month. Cool.

So where do we go from here? Well we are going to "stay the course". We are still looking at another 4+ years for Rudee to retire and have the option of continuing her companies group medical plan. The KOA will still be our home for the foreseeable future. Rudee's company requires her to be tethered to a phone line with high speed internet and unless this changes we are pretty much stuck in one spot. We are hopeful that their technology will change to adapt to a more "mobile" lifestyle and that would open up some more options for us.
My job is looking a little more secure but I don't think I would pass up a good opportunity should one present itself, especially if it helps us achieve our goal to travel.

We will continue to work on our finances with our goal being debt free. We are closer than we have ever been to that goal and I'm more committed than ever to making that happen.

We are looking forward to our second year. The future is looking pretty good for us and we are looking forward to the day we can roll up the cords, undo the hose, raise the jacks and head on down the road. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dead Mouse (YIKES!!)

Friday we drove over Camping World on the south side of Indianapolis and dropped off our washing machine. We had to drive through a pouring rain and could only go about 40 miles per hour but we made it safe and sound. They said we should hear from them by Wednesday after they get the chance to diagnose the problem. Hopefully it will not be a long repair.

Saturday morning Rudee and I drove over to see my Mom. We visited with her for a couple of hours until it was time for her to go to lunch. She seemed to be feeling a lot better and we had a fun visit. With nothing else going on we headed back home and spent a quiet evening at home.

Sunday was more of the same. We did remember to move our clocks forward an hour before going to bed Saturday night. We both lounged around the 5th wheel all day watching TV and surfing the web. We did get our taxes filed and our smoke detector batteries changed. Around 4pm we both had enough and needed to get outside and do something. Rudee sent out an text message to several of our friends hoping one or two would want to meet for supper. I guess everybody was as bored as we were because we had 9 people at Denney's in Lebanon.

Monday morning we were back to work. Rudee usually logs onto her computer while I am in the shower. She came in and said her mouse had died (hence the name of this post. LOL) and was having trouble logging on. I got dressed and went to help her out. Rudee's computer is a desk top tower unit with 2 monitors and takes up almost all the room at our little desk area. I pulled out the tower and checked the mouse connections and all was tight. I had her shut down and re-boot the tower and that didn't help either so I shut down all the power to the unit. Nothing I tried would revive that little mouse so I said some inspiring words over it's lifeless body and pronounced it dead :-(. Rudee called her companies I.T. department and they are sending out a new mouse. I got Rudee up and running with a laptop mouse I had for my work computer. The cord was quite a bit shorter than her other one and took some getting used to but at least she can work with it until her new one arrives.

We are enjoying the spring like weather here in Indiana. The furnace has been getting a well deserved break and that means we will spend less on propane this month :-). Monday was our 1 year fulltiming anniversary. I will do a recap of our first year in the next day or two so stay tuned. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

it just keeps getting better

The weather this week has been great so far. I heard on the radio that it has gotten warmer and warmer everyday since March 3rd. Cool!!

Work has been busy. I'm doing the Fort Wayne territory again and have been up there 3 times so far this week. Each trip is a minimum of 360 miles and it sure makes for a long day.

Wednesday evening we had our dinner ride with our goldwing group and we actually got to ride. As soon as I got home we pulled the goldwing out from under the 5th wheel overhang. When I put it away for the winter I hooked up a trickle charger to the battery and it must have done it's job because the battery was not only fully charged but the bike fired right up as
well :-).

We were meeting in Lebanon at the 32 Warehouse restaurant. Since it was 70* and sunny we decided to head out early and take a little ride. I made sure the air pressure in the tires was within specs and took a quick solo trip to get gas. It also gave me a quick refresher on my riding skills. Rudee was ready to go when I got back. We were both glad to be able to do some riding again. It's been a long winter.

We rode for about 1 1/2 hours before stopping at the restaurant to meet the group. Several others also took the opportunity to shake the cobwebs off their bikes as well. We had 5 motorcycles follow us back to Crawfordsville after the meal. The temperature had dropped to 54* but it was still a nice night for a ride :-).

We are going to make a trip to Camping World in Indianapolis tomorrow evening. Our Splendid washer/dryer has gone on the fritz. Rudee had washed a load of clothes and when the dry cycle had ended the clothes were still soaking wet. Turns out the drum is no longer tumbling or spinning :-(. We purchased a seven year extended warranty before our manufacturers warranty expired and it includes coverage on all of our appliances. Rudee called Camping World for a service appointment and the warranty company to verify the coverage and give them a heads up on the problem. We have a little experience working with them from our furnace problem last fall which went very well since we followed all their rules. I have heard a lot of horror stories about people getting denied coverage with extended warranties and almost all of them were because they tried to get the warranty company to cover a repair after the fact. Our policy is very clear that they need to be contacted by the service facility "after" they diagnose the problem but "before" any repairs. We are going to take off an hour early tomorrow so we have time to load the washer into the Dakota and get to Camping World before they close at 6pm. I just hope they can get it fixed fairly quickly, I hate laundromats.

This morning we woke up to thunderstorms and we even had some small hail. Of course the hail didn't start until I stepped outside to head for the car :-( OUCH. The rain continued off and on most of the day and we are having some more thunderstorms this evening. It not only feels like spring around here but it also sounds like it too!!

We don't have any big plans this week end. They are saying it will be cooler and some rain will be moving through so who knows what we will come up with. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Rudee

We were packed up and ready to go early Saturday morning. Steve and Trish were waiting on us at their house. We parked the car and piled into their van and pointed it north.
Here was our first stop in Lafayette Indiana:

After breakfast we made good time heading to Michigan. We had reservations at the Fairfield Inn in New Buffalo which is just over the Indiana/Michigan state line. We arrived at the motel shortly before noon, got checked in and the van unloaded.

The plan was to go to the Four Winds Casino just up the road from the motel and have a little gambling fun. Steve gave us a nice tour of the town on the way. New Buffalo sits on Lake Michigan and we saw the lake and beach as well as going through some of the lakefront neighborhoods and looking at the high dollar houses. There were some really nice homes!

Arriving at the casino we made plans to meet up again in 2 hours. Rudee and I usually stick together while Suters like to gamble separately so we wished them luck and started looking for a "lucky" machine. We hit several machines and my luck was running fairly good and I ended up with a little more money than what I started with. Rudee, on the other hand, was not doing as well. We had fun and met up with Steve and Trish and their luck was running about the same as ours. Trish was winning and Steve was losing. We all decided to head back to the motel and check out the pool.

One thing we miss from selling our house is the hot tub we had on the patio. We used it a lot and whenever we are in an RV park or motel that has one we take advantage. The hot tub at the Fairfield was more luke warm instead of hot but we enjoyed it. I especially liked it when 4 other women came in and hopped in the tub with Rudee and I. Little ole me with 5 scantly clad women in a hot tub!! Yessiree I'm having fun now and it wasn't even my birthday we were celebrating.

I wanted to take Rudee somewhere nice for dinner but had no plan. We saw a decent looking restaurant in downtown New Buffalo and decided to give it a try. Casey's is a very nice restaurant in one of the older store fronts. Rudee and I ordered appetizers for our meal. We shared a salad, peel and eat shrimp and each had a cup of clam chowder. Steve had pork chops and Trish had a shrimp salad. The food was all really good.
We ended up driving over to Michigan City Indiana to the Blue Chips Casino to try our luck there for a little while. I thought my lucky streak was over because I was not doing too good. I decided to play a video poker machine and see if I could hit a royal flush. Well I didn't hit the top prize of $1000.00 for the royal but got 4 aces and a deuce and won $500! I cashed out and was happy to leave with their money.

Sunday morning we checked out of the motel and headed back to Four Winds. Steve had a coupon for a free fleece jacket that were being handed out today. We had breakfast in the restaurant and gambled a little before heading back home. All in all we came out over $700 ahead. Rudee and I both enjoyed ourselves and we had fun spending time with Steve and Trish. Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Looks like the weather may cooperate and give us some nice days this week. We may even get the chance to fire the bike up and take a short ride. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

heading for Michigan

I'm up early again this morning. I'm not sure why I can't sleep later on the week ends. I guess since we only get 2 days off from work I want to make them last as long as possible :-).

We are meeting Steve and Trish at their house and then going to breakfast in Frankfort. We are leaving our car in their garage and Steve has volunteered to drive. I'm looking forward to being able to look at the scenery some instead of having to concentrate on the road.

Rudee had a company "team building" outing yesterday. I picked her up about 1:30 and dropped her off at her office where they were having a short meeting and then going bowling. I, on the other hand, still had a couple of hours of work left. I took the opportunity to get the oil changed on my company car and finish up some paperwork. I met up with her at the bowling alley just as they were finishing up and we all went to dinner at Scotty's Brewhouse which was nearby.
On our way home from dinner we got a call from Steve and Trish who were just leaving the hospital after visiting his Mom. They were going to eat and wanted us to join them. We decided another glass of iced tea wouldn't kill us and met them in Lebanon. We finalized our plans for this week end and we finally made it home around 9:30 and were in bed shortly thereafter.

I will try and get some photos this week end so you'll have something more interesting to see on this blog. Hopefully with the weather improving we will be getting out more and doing some interesting and different things.

Rudee's alarm just went off and she is starting to stir. I think I will finish up my coffee and get ready for the day. Wish us luck for a big win at the casino! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring is "springing"

The weatherman is smiling down on us. We have had several nice days (read: no snow!!) in a row and it just keeps getting better every day. Today we had blue sunny skies and the temperature was in the middle 40's. We are expecting to break the 50 mark by this week end. Whoo Hoo!! I also saw a large flock of Robins yesterday. Yep Spring is just around the corner.

Steve's Mom has rallied and is improving every day. Hopefully she will be well enough to move into a regular room soon. She still has some underlying medical problems that needs attention but it looks like she has turned the corner and is getting better.

I read, and contribute to, a few RV forums on the web. I mostly follow the fulltime and heavy duty truck posts the most. I read a topic the other day from a former fulltimer who was commenting on the difficulty of getting rid of cherished possessions and hitting the road. His post got me thinking back to our big "purge". I can't say I had anything that I "cherished" or that tore me apart to have to get rid of. Are we so materialistic that we feel like the one with the most stuff "wins"? Rudee and I dearly love to ride our motorcycle. We look forward to the warm weather and miss riding when it's cold but if we had to give it up we could. The motorcycle is not our "cherished" possession but the time we spend together is. I guess that is one reason we are pursuing this dream of fulltime RVing, to spend more of our time to just be together.
When we were at the RV show a few weeks ago I looked in several smaller 5th wheels and even some travel trailers and the same thought kept running through my head. "Could we fulltime in this?" Well the answer is a resounding "yes" we could. We love the floor plan and the room we have in our Montana but it's not a "cherished" possession. Our Montana is our dwelling but our "home" is Rudee and I sharing life together no matter what type of abode we find ourselves in at the end of the day. We did go through some emotions selling off all our "stuff" but it was very liberating and now feels wonderful not having all that "clutter". I know this lifestyle isn't for everyone and we ourselves are only in the beginning stages. We are both looking forward to the next step of our fulltime lifestyle when we can let loose of some of the things that are tying us here. May take us a few more years but we are committed and motivated.

I have had a busy week at work. Seems like feast or famine on my job. Rudee's job is always busy it seems. This week end may work out OK since Steve's Mom is getting better. We have made our motel reservations and are looking forward to our trip to Michigan. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 1, 2010

early to bed, early to rise .....

Friday after work we loaded our suitcase and some "road" snacks into the car and started towards Greensburg Indiana. We made a slight detour to Greencastle and stopped into the funeral home there to pay our respects to my sisters husband and family. I felt bad that we couldn't spend more time with them but they were not going to be in town long and had their hands full with family responsibilities.

Back on the road we stopped at a grille and bar in the small town of Stilesville where we grabbed a quick supper. We made it to our motel around 8pm. Our room was huge. It was a "mini" suite and probably had more square footage than in our 5th wheel.

We changed into our swim suits and headed for the pool and hot tub. We lounged in both of them for about 30 minutes and then headed back to the room. We had a big day tomorrow and needed to get some sleep.

I was up early Saturday morning, like 4am early. Yikes!! I guess it was being in a strange bedroom that kept me from sleeping. I was able to make some coffee by feel since I didn't want to wake Rudee up by turning on the lights and just surfed the web until her alarm went off at 6. We got our showers and had a quick "motel" breakfast and headed out the door. We were attending a training class for our Goldwing group and it started at 8am.
The training we were taking was to be "certified" to be officers in the organization. Rudee and I have held several offices over the last 20 years and we have no ambition to do it again but we did want to take the training so we could offer our help to the new officers if they wanted it. The training was held in a large freestanding banquet hall. They were about 65 people and 1 dog taking the course. Yes, I said 1 dog. Now before you read any further let me say I am not anti-dog or anti-pet, but, bringing a dog to a training class where you have to sit all day listening to lectures is just plain wrong. I know boarding is expensive and your pet may be your "fur kid" but you are not doing your pet, or for that matter your fellow students, any favors by having them there.

The first day of class started right on time and followed a pretty strict schedule. The lectures were mostly over the governing rules and how the organization conducts business. They dismissed us shortly before 6pm and we both were ready to be out of there. Most of our group were staying at the Holiday Inn so we went over there and had an impromptu birthday party for our friend Bill Remley. We even had cake and ice cream!
I was pretty beat so we headed to bed pretty early. No hot tub tonight :-).

Sunday's schedule promised to be shorter but we started out with a test :-(
They had several lectures and finally passed out our certificates. We all passed!! I missed 3 on the test which was 1 percentage point better than the dog did so I was happy :-). Rudee had to show off and didn't miss any. I guess I should have copied off her :-).

Our small group went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch and then we headed back towards home. We made a stop in Indianapolis at the hospital. We had gotten a call from Trish that Steve's Mom was in the ICU and not doing well. We wanted to stop and see if there was anything we could do. They had been there almost all day and she was not showing any signs of improvement. We all left the hospital and met again in Lebanon so they could get something to eat. We lingered in the restaurant talking and even had a laugh or two. I think Steve needed that. It had been a tough day for him.

This Sunday is Rudee's birthday. She has "hitch itch" really bad and wants to get away so we made plans with Steve and Trish to go to New Buffalo Michigan. There is a casino there and Rudee likes to play the slot machines so maybe she will get rich on her birthday!! We will drive up Saturday morning and spend the night before coming home Sunday. Of course this all depends on how things are going with Steve's Mom. I'll keep you posted.