Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Food and Movies

Now that the rush is over; June, Earl, Roy, and I have been enjoying lots of great dinners out and an assortment of movies at home. Yesterday we took in the new 3D Movie, Avatar, at the the theater. That was quite the movie!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Super Holiday

Roy and I are having a superb start to our adventure! The festivities with June, Earl, the kids and their special others, as well as, grandkids and grand dogs has been wonderful. Food and treats abound! We've been comfy in our camper with temperatures in the 60's up to 72 degrees. Outside temperatures have been mostly mild. We've only been running the ceramic heater and our electric blanket. A cold room and toasty bed makes for great sleeping. The dogs and cat seem to have taken to their new home perfectly. The camper organization is better than I expected, but will get even better. Tuesday we carried things to the camper most of the day and onward to 3:30 Wednesday morning. The buyers were hauling things into the house until around 2:00 a.m.!!! I don't know how many miles we walked that day back and forth and up and down two camper steps. All I know is by the wee hours of the morning I was having to step backwards out of the camper to use a new group of muscles as the others were so sore. I have been sooooo sore down my back, legs, and arms. Today I'm finally feeling the pain leave. Wednesday Roy and Earl went back to the house to pack up the garage. They used their heads when they quick packed stuff into the truck and brought it into Earl's heated garage for further sorting. Roy has been able to sort and pack at his leisure. Between all the indoor fun June, Earl, Roy, myself, and the 4 dogs have stolen away for some fun in the snow letting the dogs run. Life is good!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tentative Plans

Yesterday was the official closing on the sale of the house. We're happy for the young couple who are buying it. They have some great plans, and best of all their daughter will be within a 5 minutes walking distance of school. She previously spent an hour getting to school and another hour getting home! Today is the day everything goes to the camper! It's finally here!!! Roy has been running a ceramic heater in the camper and despite the temperature outside dropping to zero, the camper has remained warm. Our plan is to move in, and then remain in the area until after Christmas! We've heard the temperature is supposed to be 34 degrees Christmas Day. Hopefully that's outside and not inside the camper!!! If Winter temperatures in the camper get too cold, we'll move indoors with our good friends, June and Earl. The camper will be parked in their driveway. We are thinking we may stay in the area until the 28th. Once on the road, the tentative plan is to head to Florida and travel the coastline across to Texas. Roy and I both agree we are feeling a great sense of freedom even with all that we still have to do.

Friday, December 18, 2009


We got the official word today that the closing will be Monday at 10:00. Instead of being excited, I had a meltdown. Prior talks had been of the buyers taking immediate possession at the closing! I have a few days of paperwork to wrap-up the job, and of course, there are so many things left to do to get ready to go. Roy talked with the buyers, and they are okay waiting to move in until Wednesday. They want to be living in the house by Christmas Eve. Whew! I can breath again. We started packing our suitcases tonight, and gathering household items together. With freezing temperatures, it makes the transition of some goods a bit tricky. We've decided we're not going to try to organize the camper in the cold weather, but will wait until we get down into warmer temperatures. Tomorrow will be a busy day, but I think our excitement can now start to officially grow!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Getting Ready to Roll

Well, the inspector has been here, and liked what he saw. We're being told that the closing will be around the 23rd, but no definite date has been given yet. That works out great, as I'll have some paperwork to complete before bidding farewell to the workforce. This weekend we'll start packing what we can and doing some final cleaning. Roy had new tires put on the truck, and will be getting new tires on the camper. He purchased a bike rack that clamps onto the bumper of the camper. The design is cool in that the part that holds the bikes plugs into a Reese hitch. If we wanted to transfer the carrier to the truck, all we would have to do is plug it into the hitch that the ball for the trailer fits in. We found that for a girls bike to sit on the carrier straight, there is an adapter bar that can be clamped from the seat to under the handlebars. It makes a bar like a boys bike. We're starting to formulate some tentative travel plans. My brother, Bill, and his wife, Marsha, are planning on being in Florida to watch the space shuttle launch. At this point, we are thinking we will watch the launch with them and then travel the coast to Texas. I still can't believe our adventure is really going to happen. With cold snowy weather here, we're really looking forward to going to warmer places in our little camper home, with nothing to do, but love our dogs, cat, and each other.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Countdown

The appraiser has been to the house and soon an inspector will visit. We think we'll be told the official closing date this week. We're hearing that the buyers would like to have it on the 18th with immediate possession! We are assessing our readiness for a quick transition and think we are in good shape. It's all very surreal, and a bit scary at times. Roy and I agree that not having a known departure date creates some anxiety. We can only tentatively plan what we'll do and when. Roy's long haul trucking experience will come in handy when we head down the road, as we want to make it as far south into warmer temperatures as quickly as possible. Once south of freezing weather, we'll be able to set the camper up for occupancy and our new life will begin!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Offer Accepted!

We signed on an offer the day before Thanksgiving, and the family wants to be moved in by Christmas!!! Things are going to start happening very fast over the next 3 weeks. We're thrilled, but also fearful of getting our hopes up and not having the sale go through. The buyers are as excited as we are, and financing seems assured. I'll continue working until December 20th. We might just be headed over the river and through the woods to warmer places before the first big snowfall! Woo Hoo!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Great Title - Poor Recommendation

This book is very dry reading! It reads like a manual. Over several months, I've managed to read-skim to page 417 of 561. I'm not sure I'll make it to the end. Despite the lack of enjoyment in reading it, I must give the authors credit for covering all the basics of living in an RV. The two points I gained from this book are: 1. Remodel the interior to fit your needs. 2. Maximize every space for storage. Suggestions were made for organizing cabinets, utilizing wall space, and building shelves in small spaces one might not think of using. Although I haven't enjoyed this book, I'm currently reading another by the same authors, and am finding it pleasant to read. More on that later. Marilyn

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In The Interim

Never a dull moment here. While waiting for the house to sell, I have decided to return to the work force. I've worked out a very cool arrangement with our local hospital to contract my services as a speech therapist to them. A key point in the arrangement is a clause whereby I may release myself from the contract with a 30 day notice. Sweet! We weren't quite ready to give up on our chances to escape the Winter or delay the start of our adventure. The plan is for me to work with K-5th grade students at Lincoln School in the Soo. I'm actually thinking this could be fun after a four year break. I'll be able to stop by the shelter at the end of the work day and hug my kitties, too! Marilyn

Monday, November 9, 2009

House Cleaning

The house couldn't be cleaner, if we had a maid following us around! This is totally amazing given the fact that we don't have a maid, and I hate keeping everything this spotless! We had a photo session today at 10:00 so that the realtor could update our pictures online and take even more. They like to show 25 pictures!!! The gal doing the pictures did a nice job. One of the realtors from the yard sale called us Sunday night to ask for a 5:00 Monday showing!!! I'm hoping this will be the one to put me out of my house cleaning misery. Marilyn

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Final Yard Sale

Roy's idea to have our final yard sale the day of the Brimley Christmas Craft Show was brilliant! The sale was a super success! I was worried what the weather would be like this late in the Fall, but the temperature was very comfortable. This week we'll haul the odds and ends that are left to the Salvation Army. I told two young girls, who were excitedly telling me about getting their first apartment, that they were welcome to stop by tomorrow and take whatever they wanted of the things that are left. A bonus to our yard sale was having two realtors stop by. We took them through the house. One had a young couple he was going to contact. Wouldn't that be something, if the yard sale ended up selling the house, too? We talked with a man today who Winters in Gold Canyon, Arizona. He says it's 30 minutes southeast of Phoenix. The twinkle in his eyes and the excitement in his voice when talking about the warm Winter weather and fun activities in the RV park was inspirational. Everything today has greatly renewed our optimism!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taking a Break

Today I took the day off from house projects and spent the day at the shelter. It's always nice to spend time with the shelter crew, and catch-up on what's been happening. With the help of three volunteers, I was able to trim all of the front showroom cat's nails and check for ear mites. I didn't keep track of how many cats we did, but there are usually about 60 cats in the showroom. Tomorrow it's back to painting :-( Roy has been sick with an achey, tired, stomach flu since yesterday. That hasn't been such a great break from projects!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
Here are two friends enjoying some down time together.

Monday, October 19, 2009


We're living life in limbo. Are we staying or are we going? Trying to keep a balance on both possibilities is feeling pretty insane. If the house doesn't sell, staying local is the best financial plan, but of course, we just want to get on with the fun. We're continuing to minimize our belongings. Will it never come to an end!!! There is a big craft show in Brimley on November 7th. If the weather is cooperative, we will take advantage of the traffic that day for our final yard sale. How many final yard sales is that now? The house is looking better each day with the reduced stuff, and fresh paint in almost every room now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ice Storm

Monday we awoke in the camper to the sound of a downpour of sleet. While loving the sound of the pounding ice storm, we were sad at what it mean't for our continuing to stay in the camper. We've turned on the heat and are comfy, but will have to move back into the house soon. Yesterday was a morning of heavy frost. Charles moved back into the house as he typically would remain in the camper throughout the day. The rest of us are holding out for as long as we can, but Roy will have to Winterize the camper soon. Yesterday I felt a sadness at this set-back, but have to stay positive that we will make our escape from Winter and begin our adventure. Should our camper life be postponed, we'll get to enjoy another year here with our friends and be closer to their being able to join us on the road.

Roy is nearly done with the bathroom project. I have been freshening up the paint in various rooms. I've done the t.v. room and kitchen. Today I'll do the main bathroom. I'm eyeing the hallway for a new color. We should be ready by next week to really promote the house. If Friday or Saturday permits, one more yard sale will be held, otherwise, it's time to pack it all up and haul it away. We're keeping our chins up and hoping the house will sell, otherwise, it's back to reconsidering our options. It's good to have options!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Travels With Charley

We just completed the classic, "Travels With Charley" by John Steinbeck. It wasn't about the enthusiasm of travel, and the inspiration he found in beautiful places, as we were expecting; but still interesting. He spoke more of people he met and grumbled about many things he saw. He writes in a way that produces vivid images, but also at times is almost incomprehensible. To sum up his findings, on page 207 he says: "I discovered long ago in collecting and classifying marine animals that what I found was closely intermeshed with how I felt at the moment. External reality has a way of being not so external after all. This monster of a land, this mightiest of nations, this spawn of the future, turns out to be the macrocosm of microcosm me." Back to reading about the modern RVing life in our current book, "Complete Guide to Full-Time RVing (Life on the Open Road)" by Bill and Jan Moeller. It's off to a good start!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Officially Moved Into The Camper

Life got busy and we didn't get moved on Saturday as planned, but spent our first night in the camper yesterday evening. Roy fixed a great steak dinner. It was enjoyed by all. Charles, the cat, especially enjoyed it, as steak seems to be his favorite food. The new king size bed was great! Overall the animals settled in pretty well, but a little more adjustment will be needed so that everyone gets just the right sleeping place. The overall feeling through dinner, the night, and morning was one of having adequate space and a sense of togetherness. We were able to imagine the house being sold, and a sense of freedom from responsibilities. We liked the way it felt. We think we could get hooked on the RV lifestyle!

Friday, October 2, 2009


It seems with the arrival of October the weather has decided to instantly crash into the 40s and 50s instead of making a gradual decline from the beautiful late September weather we were having. Today for what I think will be our final yard sale, the temperature was 47 degrees! A person stopping by said snow is predicted for next week!!!

A very neat thing happened today at our yard sale. A lady who fosters Sudanese children stopped in. She is connected with an organization that helps Sudanese families get established in America. After talking with her awhile, we decided to donate our yard sale household goods to help these families. She will take it to Grand Rapids, MI to distribute. She will also be taking lots of Christmas decorations for her church. I felt like I should have paid her for helping us clear out a lot of our remaining items. She was extremely thrilled, and what a wonderful feeling for us to have our things go to help others!

This afternoon I worked on organizing the camper, and tomorrow we will move in! With the animals moved out of the house, I'll begin scrubbing carpets. We might just make it out of here before the snow gets too deep!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting Closer to Our Launch

Although it may still be a couple of months until the official launch of our move, we feel like we're actually going to make it happen! We had another yard sale today, and we'll do it again Saturday. Today went very well! We feel that the stuff is getting sufficiently diminished, and we are starting to think of taking the remaining things to the Salvation Army. We'll have another yard sale or two first. I rearranged the stuff on the tables today to focus on Christmas decorations, games, and Winter items. It was sweatshirt weather and nippy enough to put people in the mood to think about preparing for Winter.

Roy has been very busy with the camper, house, and yard. He has revamped the bedroom of the camper to accomodate a king sized mattress. Wow! That's nice. The kitties are out of the camper, and up for adoption at the shelter. I'll start officially moving us into the camper this week. We'll finalize moving everyone and the things we'll be taking with us out of the house. We'll just use the house for shower facilities. Cooking and sleeping will be in the camper. Moving into the camper is a major step forward! We'll finish up the interior primping of the house, and then be ready to get the realtor to move our listing and showings to full speed ahead!
We're reading another travel book, but more on that later!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting Smarter

We've completed another excellent book called "Survival of the Snowbirds". It is written by Kay Peterson. It came highly recommended in the previous book. It is a source for everything you could possibly want to know about boondocking. Boondocking is the term used to refer to camping for free. The one drawback to this book is that it was published in 1982 before cell phones, the internet, improvements in RVs, and businesses making dump stations readily available. It definitely showed how much easier RVing is today. We chose to read this original version of the book, as revised editions of things aren't always better. After noting the integrity of the author and the amount of information packed into this 221 page book, I feel I can recommend their 1997 revision. It is called "The New Revised Survival of the Snowbirds". Roy and I were joking today that when we start to read our next RV book called "Complete Guide to Full-Time RVing" that we'll be saying "HoHum, We know that. We know that. We already know that!" We'll let you know. I guess to sum it up we're feeling pretty smart, but maybe another book or two wouldn't hurt.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kitten Room Officially Closed

Many of you know that for the past four years I've fostered kittens for the Chippewa County Animal Shelter. To be exact I have about 80 or more kitties a year come through my kitten room. Kitty season starts in March and goes strong until around Christmas! This week I sadly had to close my playroom down. House showings are picking up speed and it's time to do a room freshening. I'll miss those little furballs. On a happier note, there are lots of shelter volunteer opportunities across the country. Marilyn

Okay, so I have four of my babies in the camper!!! Did you really think I could stop before we hit the road!!! Ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha,ha!!!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Charles is the third of our furry traveling companions. He was about 6 months old, and part of a feral colony being trapped for spaying and neutering. There seemed to be a special connection between us during his stay at the shelter. He seemed comfortable enough with me to look deep into my eyes and verbalize his woes. I decided like I had with Sugar to take him home, and see what I could do to socialize him. He has made many gains, but seems stuck between being too wild to adopt out, and too domesticated for my soul to accept putting him out as a barn cat in this cold northern climate. He's made it clear he's had enough of the outdoor life. Whenever the door opens he runs the other way!!! Charles and Prin struck up a special friendship, and that cinched the deal. It seems crazy even to us to take him traveling, but I can't imagine life without him. He's such a character and an integral part of our family. With Charles and Sugar we realize that they have enough wild in them that they may choose to run away, but also that they seem drawn to stay with us (or Prin). Recently Charles has made another major breakthrough. He is jumping on to our laps, following us around meowing for petting, and practicing his best begging skills. It seems as though he is making up for the petting lost during his time outdoors as a wild cat.

Monday, September 7, 2009


This is our sweet girl, Sugar. We weren't planning on getting another dog, but Sugar made her way into our life through her adoption of Prin. I volunteer a lot at the Chippewa County Animal Shelter in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Prin came from there as a young pup. As Prin got older I was taking her to the shelter with me. Sugar came to the shelter as one of a litter of wild 4 month old pups trapped by the animal control officers. The pups were kept at the shelter 4 months in attempts to socialize them. Sugar's two brothers were able to achieve a level of trust in humans to where they were described as shy. They were eventually adopted. Sugar as a reluctant pack leader with stronger wild instincts couldn't seem to get beyond a fearful tolerance of being in close proximity to people. She was adopted twice, however, and both times quickly returned to the shelter. During this time Prin (who is very domininant) and Sugar (who is very skittish) had been playing together at the shelter. Prin's dominance bolstered Sugar's confidence in the world of people, and Sugar's wild sense of pack orderliness seemed to regulate Prin into a calmer state. I decided to bring Sugar home to see how she behaved in a home, and gain some insights as to why she was being returned to the shelter. I quickly learned that she was like living with a coyote! She paced nervously from room to room almost constantly. Everything was new to her and scary. She tried to cram herself into the smallest spaces to hide. Approaching her was an exercise in caution. Despite this, there was something wild and beautiful about her interaction with Prin, and she captivated our fascination as in watching any wild creature. It's taken us awhile to earn her trust, but we've been adopted! We look forward to our life with her, and her unique perspective during our travels.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Adventure In Print

We're reading up on our great adventure into the world of RVing. An excellent book called RVers "How Do They Live Like That?" was recommended to us. After completing it, I would say it is a must-read for anyone contemplating the lifestyle! I'd also recommend it to those who want to understand why anyone would live like that. Beyond the RV information, the book talks a lot about dealing with the challenges of aging. Yea, Roy and I are in our 50's and what I've heard called the "youth of old age". My brother (age 60) has come to the conclusion that if he's blessed he has about as many good years left as he has fingers and toes! That's a good way of looking at life at this age. So, a big adventure it is!!! We've ordered a few more books. We'll report on them as we get them read.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Our New Dog !!

Training is the name of the game. We are so tired of yelling and running out to correct Prin. She is such a hard head it seems nothing curbs her evil ways. I felt we couldn't go on this way. Something needed to happen, so despite our hesitations we got an E collar. I made sure it was fitted just right, tested the tone alarm, and set the distraction (shock) strength. It has a dial from 1 to 10. Prin didn't seem to feel a thing until we reached 7. The instructions say the dog should only turn its head to the side for a second when applied. I am glad of that. I always thought the dog would yelp from pain. Anyway, Prin normally starts to bark and whine after about 5 minutes on her cable tie-out. We would tap the window, yell out the door, or run out and give her a good scolding. Always within 5 or 10 minutes she would start in again - AARRRRRR!

The first day of Prin's new training was amazing. She barked. She got zapped. She went and laid down and started looking around. She likes to watch birds fly by. About 30 minutes later she barked. She got another shock. She went and laid down, and started watching birds again. I was standing at the window for maybe 2 hours with my finger on the trigger. After the third bark and shock, she didn't bark again for so long I gave up the vigil. Over the next 3 days she barked a few more times and I would hit the tone alarm. If she continued to bark, she got a jolt. Today is the forth day. Prin went out without wearing the collar, and was amazingly well behaved!!! We didn't have to yell or scold even once! Overall she's calmer on her tie-out, better behaved in the house, less stressed, and happy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working on the House

Well the last few days have been a whirlwind of work and activity. Weekend yard sales in the morning and afternoon house projects. The yard sales are going slow, but things are disappearing. We have all the doors replaced now. The trim is still calling for attention. Marilyn has been busy painting outside trim and it really looks great. The master bath is getting closer all the time to being done. A house is a lot of work! The biggest thing is emptying the house of all the junk. Marilyn has a list of closets and drawers and has been checking them off one by one. It's getting so we hate to cook or do anything in the house that will make a mess. The dogs aren't helping at all. We listed the house as partially furnished, but when we got home from the realtors they had chewed one of the dining room chairs really bad. They are now staying in the garage in cages or outside on cables when we are too busy to keep a constant eye on them. Prin is suffering from acute (not cute) anxiety with all the preparations to downsize and go out on the road. Here is a list I found on the internet describing stressed dogs:

Dog Behaviors That Indicate Stress (Fits Prin's behavior)

Rapid, shallow or deep, forceful panting - Stress panting is presented with the lips pulled back in a wide "grin" causing deep wrinkles around the eyes and forehead.

Increased urination or defecation - Stressed dogs will often urinate or defecate in an inappropriate area even though they're fully housebroken.

Vomiting or diarrhea - The dog's digestive tract is frequently the first bodily function to react to stress.

Yawning - Yawning is one of the most common signs of stress. A stress yawn will be more pronounced than a sleepy yawn.

Avoidance - A stressed dog will often turn away or shy away from us when they are stressed.

Shaking/shivering - Stress will frequently cause the dog to shiver or shake even though they may not be cold or wet.

Confusion - A dog will often present signs of confusion or abnormal behavior when stressed. Be cautious when interpreting this symptom as it can also be a sign of a seizure or diabetic hypoglycemia. (Prin is showing dull eyes)

Whining or growling - Vocalization is very typical in a stressed out dog and is a sign of heightened anxiety.

Stretching - Stretching is the dog's way of relaxing muscles tightened by a stressful situation.

While not an exhaustive list, these are just a few of the signs that can help you recognize when your dog is stressed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prin Today - The big Puppy?

This is Prin today.  She's a big puppy, if ever you saw one! She is very smart. Maybe too smart! We started calling her "Baby Knothead". We have to remind ourselves that she is only a year and a half old. Her biggest problem is being strong-willed, not following commands, stealing cat food, and chewing things like the hot tub cover or the handle on the easy chair. If she thinks I am going to get up and scold her, she will snap to and do what I want instantly, otherwise, she will keep an eye on me and continue in her bad ways. Sneaky, too!  She will come and look to see if we're busy and then go steal cat food. She is about 60 lbs., 2 feet high at the shoulder, and sets 32 inches to the top of her ears! Our other traveling companions are "Charles" the cat and a wild dog named "Sugar". More about them later.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The New Blog

Well here is our first blog. I uploaded a picture of Prin to see if it works ok. So far so good. Prin's nickname today is "Baby Knothead". She is about a year and a half old now and very strong willed. As most of you know we are planning to sell our house and most of the junk we have collected in the last 20 years and move into the camper. We are looking forward to the open road and new adventure. There is a lot of work to do and at times it seems overwhelming. We are staying the course and the jobs are slowly getting done. We will be posting more as we are going to try and make this blog an everyday thing.

Have a good day