Week 11: Learning to be flexible
While we are enjoying our time in the RV, living far from family and being stuck in one place during a pandemic has definitely caused us some troubles. This will not be the whole focus of this week’s post but we wanted you to be prepared to read about a week with a lot of ups and downs for us. We had some big wins and some tough news.
Monday was somewhat quiet. I, Laurie had a doctor appointment after work and we cooked dinner outside on the grill. We had some great hamburgers cooked by Dom with his special seasoning. We also paid off the last of the balance on a credit card. We have been working hard to pay off all of our debit before we hit the road. This card was one more step in that process. You don’t have to wait until everything is perfect to start living your dream life. We decided that it would be much easier to pay off our debt once we moved into the RV full time. Without a mortgage payment, taxes, HOA fees, lawn and garden care (because we would rather be biking than getting bit by fire ants and spiders while also supporting small local businesses), maintenance on a house, and large utility bills; it would be much easier to pay off the other things that we have loans on and that we wanted to keep.
Tuesday was the anniversary of my moving to TX. In 2012 I flew with two chihuahuas, a backpack and a duffle bag from NH to TX. I mailed one additional box of belongings to arrive a few days later. We have been training to live small for a long time, we just didn’t realize it. It was also a late shift day so I got some writing done in the morning and after 7PM we walked with the dogs around the campground and discussed again whether we should leave to drive to New England. Campgrounds seemed to be opening up and we thought about trying other surrounding states to see if we would be allowed in, we also discussed staying with family or friends and if that might work out. Should we fly or should we drive? In the end, it turned out that all surrounding states had the same rules no out of state travelers allowed. We were still stuck and Dom’s grandfather was up and down. While his fever and breathing had gotten better yesterday, today he was worse again. He was fighting with all of his might to beat Covid-19.
Wednesday was another pay off day. We paid the balance of our second credit card off. We expected our credit scores to shoot up since we paid off the mortgage with the sale of the house and now our credit usage was down to 12% however, they were going down. I maintain my position that credit scores are made up by some dude in his mom’s basement and it is only based on how he feels that day. Since less of our income was trapped in monthly payments, creditors were not happy and so our scores were going down instead of up as we bring our outstanding debt down closer to zero. Oh well, we would rather have trash credit scores and be paying for everything in cash than living paycheck to paycheck with credit scores at 800.
Also on Wednesday we hung out, at a distance, with some neighbors who live a few sites down. They currently live full time in a class A. It is a Newmar Dutch Star and it is first class awesomeness. They started out a long time ago in a country far far away in tents, with kids. They have moved up through pop-ups, travel trailers, fifth wheels and now into a class A rig. They have done a lot of research, are very intelligent and have great experience and wisdom about each type of rig and their positives and negatives. We got to look around their rig quickly inside and out and we talked about all the bells and whistles it has as well as how easy it is for them to set up and tear down. Ease of setup and teardown is definitely something that we are interested in as right now it takes a lot of work for us. Mostly the weight distribution hitch is a lot of work, heavy, and takes up a lot of storage space. We mulled over the advantages and disadvantages of class A rigs as well as fifth wheels and did a little research online. Right now, we are sticking with what we have. We love our floor plan, it has enough room for us and the Adventure Pups, and we will just have to live with that big ol hitch for now.
Thursday was bringing another big storm but we decided to ride this one out since last time no RVs in the park tipped over, not even the tiny ones that aren’t well chocked. We made it a movie night and brought the puppies into the big bed to snuggle and relax. So far, it had been a tough week and we hadn’t slept well due to severe allergies. For some reason this year allergies are just aweful; like 3 different allergy medications to get relief aweful. So we piled in and snuggled close.
Friday was a super windy day. I believe that the gusts were up to 30 mph. The RV shook all day while we were working and it barely died down after work as well. We got more bad news about Dom’s grandfather. He was declining further with lower oxygen levels down to 75%, more trouble breathing, a boomeranging fever, and being generally uncomfortable. We walked the dogs around the campground wondering if there was anything we could or should be doing.
Saturday we drove to East Texas to spend time with friends that we hadn't seen since October. The Smith Family Ranch was cooking aged brisket, we made medium level melt ya face queso and I finally got my extensions put in that I had been waiting for since around November I think. It was great to see them and see how their farm has changed and grown in the last 7 months. Please check out their YouTube channel here. In about a month, if you subscribe to them, you'll probably get to see the most beautiful cow in the world, Hazel, give birth to her calf!
Sunday was Mother's day and we got to have a video call with Dom's grandfather. He has a wonderful nurse who used her personal cell phone to allow us the opportunity to see and talk to him. It was a priceless gift that was too wonderful for words. We ordered lunch after the video call from one of our favorite places, Yummy Thai and stuffed ourselves silly. On a day when we really wanted to rest, we had more work to complete. Some neighbors at the campground had informed us that there was a pretty bad flea problem going on and there are tons of rabbits here to help those fleas get from one site to the next. With the Adventure Pups preferring to lay in the grass next to the $65 dog cot with a canopy, we were concerned. We also have been walking them much more than we used to when we lived in a house so they are getting more exposure to the outdoors than they have in years. I decided to run the flea comb through them to see if I got anything. Tripp had a lot of what looked to me like flea poop on his neck line and Drac had a single flea come off him through the comb. It was time to head to the store and sanitize the RV. We have not been treating them for fleas, ticks or heartworm (I know but I'm not comfortable feeding or applying pesticides unnecessarily) because they had been mostly inside dogs who didn't go for walks much and really hadn't spent much time outside over the last 7 years, Drac's whole life. Now that we basically live outside, they go for walks daily, and Drac is playing fetch almost every day, it is time to start researching again to find the safest possible solutions to keep them pest free. This day, some of those solutions were a flea spray made up of mostly water and essential oils that fleas and ticks don't like the smell of, and flea and tick collars by Seresto. The spray should also repel mosquitoes which can carry heartworms. For now we monitor them daily and treat every 4 days with the spray.
And there ends our 11th week of living in our RV. Ups, downs, and lots of curve balls. This is the flexibility that must be built to live an unconventional life. The ability to roll with the punches is a necessity when things change fast and you must swim or you will sink.