01.27.13 Santa Paul, RV trash cans, 2 tsp of detergent, stinky foods, Sam’s visit…..

Roy's brother Santa Paul
Roy’s brother Santa Paul

Two months ago we purchased a medium size bottle of laundry detergent. Since we only use 2 teaspoons per load in our tiny Splendide washer/dryer I still have two week’s worth of detergent left. By comparison, in my previous life living in a sticks house with a regular washer/dryer, I purchased one of these size bottles every two weeks, if not more often.

Roy’s older Brother Paul came to see our RV for the first time. He looks so much like Santa with his long white beard (it was way longer than in the picture) and body shape that our granddaughter Madisyn is convinced he’s truly Santa. We had such a fun evening visiting with him and seeing Madisyn in awe the whole time. She thanked him for the bicycle he brought her last Christmas and gave him her next Christmas order! His wife Lois called Paul while he was visiting and his ring tone is a Christmas song. Madisyn’s eyes got huge when she heard that and then he told her “Oh, it’s Mrs. Claus calling”. She was in little girl heaven totally convinced that Santa was her Uncle Paul! We showed her his Facebook picture where he has his Santa costume on and she was totally sold!

We’ll have the most prepared house ever when we finally get to show it. Our son Chip has been helping a lot lately with those finishing touches. Removing all the outside porch globes and cleaning them out, painting the front riser part of the inside steps to the second floor, trimming back plants that died in a recent frost, etc. Our agent says we’ll have an Open House in February and we’re considering lowering the price again so hopefully things will move along then. Soon the grass will need cutting and of course we sold the lawnmower, weed eater, etc. All are gone, and the pretty little green blades of grass that I normally cheer about are not a welcome sight this year! Our sweet neighbor Jeannette offered to loan us her lawnmower, but we’re truly hoping to be long down the road before the lawn mower is needed too often!

We're living here in our driveway!
We’re living here in our driveway!

We’re still living in the driveway of our sticks home seeing more of our area than we did in the house.  We have windows everywhere you look in the RV and it’s lovely to see outside, even in our own yard!  Maybe one day we won’t live in a driveway!  Roy’s underneath the back in this picture doing something!  He’s promised me to write a couple of blogs soon about the work he’s done getting Boots, our toad, ready and all the incidental work he’s done since we purchased Dora.  I’m sure it will be him dictating and me typing if it ever does happen!

I’ve made some great progress on preparing for our final garage sale. I don’t think I’ve had three garage sales in my entire life yet after this one we’ll have had 3 sales in 6 months! Several tables are set up with goodies displayed and priced. Roy and Chip gathered all their old carpet/flooring installation tools and loaded them up in Roy’s truck bed. Roy use to work at Halpin’s Flooring in Baton Rouge and stays in contact with the owner Elizabeth, who is just the most delightful young woman. Now instead of installing flooring for her, he repairs all their computers. Elizabeth brings us fish, deer, fresh peaches and other goodies when Roy works on her computers. I love to hear that she’s coming with a computer cause we always know a goodie will accompany her! She said he could bring all his old tools to her and hopefully the flooring installers there now will want to buy a lot of his work goodies! This cleared a lot of space in the garage to set up sale items. It’s taken 5 months to clear out our house and garage and we’re not finished yet. Several pieces of furniture are still at the Estate Consignment Center in Hammond. They’ve sold some and there are still some there to be sold. February 9th is the garage sale date and if all goes well we should be close to cleaned out! Whoo hoooo!!

We have avoided cooking stinky things or pots of food that have to cook for a while to avoid smells accumulating inside our new home. This was something we were warned about on another RV owner’s web site.  Last weekend I decided to cook some fresh vegetables to serve with dinner during the week. I was not thinking about the smell when I chose cauliflower and turnips bottoms! They did smell while they cooked but after a little airing they left no lasting smell that I can tell. We (or at least I am) are trying a new healthier food approach. I want to be a trimmer version of myself when we are on the road and be able to climb hills and cycle around at will so I’m eating healthier and trying to be more active. No marathons for me yet, but a few more stretches and walking more is a start at least!

Our trip to Sam’s today was totally different than previous visits. We only go about 4-6 times a year and haven’t been since we moved into Dora. We’re use to getting whatever we can afford because storage was no problem. Our RV refrigerator/freezer is larger than most we’ve seen in motor homes but it’s not the same size as in a sticks house. Ours is now packed and at least half of the non cold stuff we purchased is headed to the storage bins beneath (I call it the basement). At least we have that space for our “overflow”.

Amazon Trash Can - paid 11 cents!
Amazon Trash Can – paid 11 cents!

One thing we have taken care of is our trash can. May not be a big deal in a regular home but in an RV it is. We tried a small one under the sink but that lasted about a week since  we had to empty it every day. We’re use to having a trash compactor that only needs to be emptied once a week so once a day was not going to work.  Then we purchased a tall plastic one with a lid. Well, it was white and when you walked into the RV the first thing your eyes locked onto was the white talk trash can. Not the look I’m trying to achieve! I shopped in all the stores around here and found nothing. Didn’t want white, didn’t want too small. I really wanted it to just disappear into the room. Finally on Amazon I found the right one. It doesn’t disappear into the room but at least it doesn’t shout, look I”m a trash can! When I checked out I found I had a large enough cash back balance on my Discover Card that the trash can only cost me 11 cents! We’ve received it and it’s in use and it is perfect! For owners looking for one, this is a picture of the one we got from Amazon.

I know this is a blog with very random thoughts, not many related. Yet that’s how our life is right now, all over the place so this is probably a good reflection of the current life of Dora, Roy and Rosalyn the Explorers!

01.19.13 Domicile state, mail fowarding, insurance, family pics, Dora/Boots signs, RV weight – whew!

Our trusty washer and dryer from our sticks house left home recently for the last time.  Now the laundry room and the pantry room are empty, cleaned up and ready for new owners!   We have buyers for my desktop computer so we know it’ll have a good home.  We’ve had zero interest in our wonderful home but we know the future buyer is out there somewhere and they just don’t know it yet!

We haven’t weighed Dora yet and I’m beginning to be afraid she may be as overweight as we are!  Having a diesel pusher eases that concern some, but we’ll see how it goes when she finally gets weighed.  After seeing how easy the diesel moves this huge motor house, and how easy it was to talk to each other in the front seats while the engine is running in the rear, I can see that the RV salesman who initially made these claims about a diesel pusher was very correct.  If he is right about the weight load being higher, he’ll be batting a thousand.

More household items have been priced. We’ve done so much that you’d think we were out of things to get rid of or sell but nooooooooo!  Several of these items were sold on Facebook’s Tangipahoa selling site, many more on eBay, and many others are now boxed up in the garage ready for the next garage sale.  2 big bags of trash from Roy’s computer room were sent to the landfill. Most of the “trash” was old outdated computer parts that wouldn’t be useful in any modern computer. Several other computer things were priced for sale and more toys culled and priced for sale.  Our next garage sale is planned for February 9th which should help clear out most of the remaining “stuff”.

I finally tackled going through all our family pictures.  Made up a huge box of picture for our sons to have if they want them and kept a shoebox filled with pictures to scan for keeping digitally.  40 years of marriage and 60 years of life have produced way too many pictures.  Some are priceless and bring tears to my eyes when I go through them all.  The ones I scan will be added to the box our oldest son whose name he asked us to remove and Chip will get.  This has a long and time-consuming process.  Even though the scanning is all that’s left, that in itself takes a long time.  It’s a necessary thing to do since we have such limited space and weight is a concern.

We went to work recently after being off for 2-1/2 weeks for our Christmas Break.  Over that break we got to spend time in our RV, learn some, have fun and really get to enjoy it.  We feel stronger than ever that this was a very wise decision.  For anyone considering this lifestyle change, it takes much research, learning, seeing lots of RVs, and reading other people’s experiences in order to be successful.  Each step we’ve taken was thought through, prayed about, discussed a lot and when a decision was made, we took that step.  Roy and I haven’t always agreed about each step, but after 40 years of marriage we’ve learned how to compromise and it certainly worked well with this process.  It really is more of a process you go through than step by step.

Two things we’re deciding on now is our domicile state and mail forwarding service.  The first has been researched extensively and we’ve narrowed it down to a few.  I created a spreadsheet with all the information gathered from various sources to aid in this decision. Your domicile state is the state you use for voting, motor vehicle registration, jury duty, health insurance, Dora and Boots insurance, inspection stickers, ease of handling some of these things through the mail, whether they require that you live in the state any length of time, and several other things. It may sound straight forward but there are so many things to take in to account that before we change anything we have to be sure the state choose is a good choice.  Everyone bases their decisions on their own personal needs.  It may seem like we could just choose to keep Louisiana as our domicile state, but Louisiana’s automobile insurance rates are the highest in the country so that ruled it out immediately.  If we can choose another state and take advantage of that one thing it is beneficial financially to do so.  We were both born and raised in Louisiana so it will always be our  home state even if it’s not our domicile state!

Once you’ve decided on the state you want to use based on your personal needs you choose a mail forwarding service.  They give you a physical street address to use for all these things since that’s a requirement on most of them.  They receive your mail at their address and at either predetermined times or when you ask for it send your mail to you.  They offer services such as filtering through the mail, sending your mail electronically, among other services that we’re just learning about.  Finding the one that has a good reputation, with the services you want at a price you want to pay will make the final selection complete.  We’re not there yet but we’re working on those two decisions now.

One concern I was recently able to lay to rest was our health insurance.  We have excellent coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana at work which I’ll be able to continue after we retire.  I’ve contacted their office and they said that we’ll be able to use our coverage with them throughout the USA.  I verified it through an online search of various cities, large and small, across the US and there are BCBS providers in network in all physician types everywhere I looked.

Another cool thing in the works is that Roy laid out a plan for two sign type things for Dora and Boots.  We’re looking for someone to make them now.  Dora’s will say Dora and the Explorers with a picture of Dora and will go on the back of the RV.  Boots sign will have his name and a picture of Boots on the back of the Dodge Dakota truck that is our toad.

I love seeing new followers sign up for our blog.  The comments have been both helpful and enjoyable.  Please keep them coming!  We now have 15 followers of our blog, so hopefully by the time we get to start our travels we’ll have more and if they see our Dora and Boots signs on the road, they’ll know We’re the Explorers!

01.13.13 Changing Dora’s Oil, God is Great and Atlanta Dirty Birds!

Roy changed the oil in Dora our RV last weekend.  It should be changed every 11,000 miles if you use standard oil.  He used Mobile 1 Full Synthetic Oil so it’s good for up to 75,000 miles.  They say a good rule of thumb is to change it once a year, Roy says he hopes to never change it again!  He also replaced the oil filter which was about a foot tall!  Everything Dora uses is supersized!

When we picked up the RV from Berryland Campers they walked us through everything and told us about all that was replaced and changed, etc.  One of the questions Roy specifically asked was if the oil was changed.  Tim, the technician assigned to us, told him yes.  Roy believed him so he didn’t check the oil.  We were very happy about that and took it home.  Before we left for Disneyworld Roy happened to check the oil.  What he found was very dark unchanged oil and the oil filter was rusted with the paint coming off.  We called Berryland three times and our salesman wasn’t available so we left a message each time.  He’s never called us back.  There were a few other things we were told by the technician had been taken care of, but weren’t.   The same attention we were given before the sale does not seem to be carrying over to after the sale.

Lesson learned: When you buy an RV don’t just trust everything the technician tells you, check it out yourself.  There is so much unfamiliar stuff in an RV, that taking someone very familiar with RVs along with you is an extremely good idea.

Roy decided to change the oil himself.   He priced the oil at Wal-Mart, AutoZone and online.  Wal-Mart has the best price on Mobile 1 Full Synthetic 10W40 Oil and it comes in 5 quart containers.  Each Wal-mart only has 2 of these 10W40 containers in stock at any time.  The Amite store wound up having 3 of the containers so he went to the Walker store since our Hammond Wal-Mart store didn’t have any.  He couldn’t find the oil filter locally so he ordered it off the internet.  He could find substitute brands but he wanted the Caterpillar brand filter since we have a Caterpillar motor.

He had no trouble getting the oil out but finding out where to put the clean oil in was quite a task.  No where could we find documentation about it.  Not in any of the manuals and not on the internet.  He looked inside, he looked outside and finally found what he hoped was the oil fill hole!  Roy’s a smart man and figured it out right.  He had to get the oil funnel higher than the oil fill tube so he needed to stand on a ladder.  Since we’ve sold all our ladders he had to make do with an old table.  The legs on the table broke and he crashed down to the ground.  I didn’t hear him hollering for me, so he says he was laying there “writhing in pain” for a while and nobody came to help him.  😦  He’s got a bad chest bruise and his back has hurting him really bad since then.  He must have made it worse this weekend because he had to take a pain pill and is now snoring on the sofa.

After the table fell apart and he got injured, Roy used a milk crate on top of the table with no legs.  The step-ladder was yet another item we shouldn’t have sold too quickly! Poor Roy working so hard to take care of Dora and me.  Two hours after he started he finally had the oil changed.  No 15 minute speedy oil change for our Dora!  She’s all smiles now and ready to get on the road.  Please someone buy our house!

Roy changing Dora's oil on the broken table and milk crate!
Roy changing Dora’s oil on the broken table and milk crate!

Previously I wrote that we were going to try a tank cleaning method called the GEO method.  Roy bought the necessary ingredients (Calgon water softener and Dawn original blue dishwashing liquid) at Wal-Mart and we put them in the gray tank and black tank.  The combination of these things stops “things” from sticking to the sensors and the bottom of the tank. Keeping “things” off the sensors gives us proper tank level readings.  If you don’t know your tank levels you don’t know when to dump! Keeping things off the bottom of the tanks makes it smell better!  Knowing when to dump and smelling better are important in RV life.   Here’s a link to a webpage about the GEO method if anyone wants to try it also.  https://sites.google.com/site/cbruni/.  This website explains better than I did about why you need to do this and what these products do.  This particular website doesn’t say to use Dawn dishwashing liquid but other blogs did.  If you can’t find Calgon water softener you can use Borax.  Roy got multiple bottles/boxes of all of them.  That’s my honey, he likes to be prepared even in an RV with limited storage!

Church this morning was what my heart needed.  Our new Baptist Hymnal is great.  It has some modern contemporary songs in hymn form, some songs our choir has sung as specials, as well as many of the traditional hymns we all love. Our choir also sang a beautiful song Praise to the Lord the Almighty the King of Creation.  It’s one of my favorite choir specials and I know every word of it!  Christian music has such a strong message to me. Our pastor’s sermon was about Grace and Love going together.

One thing he said was about church being like a little slice of Heaven.  At work, shopping, anywhere else, I never am with a group of believers like at church.  They know my faults, I don’t seem to be able to hide them, and they still accept me and love me!  None of them and myself are perfect, but we love each other in a deeper way than we love other friends.  Knowing that these are the people I’m going to spend eternity with makes our feelings different.  We know each of our church members stumbles in our human lives and are there to support us when that happens so we can get back up and live for God like we are supposed to.

Being at church is very different from being out in the world.  At church, no one is cursing (which cuts me to the core as I listen to many people at work just curse away every day), no one is talking about how much they drank or how hung over they were (I’m certainly not saying none of our church members drink) and their love for the Lord guides their attitudes and how they relate to others.  Churches are not perfect, as none of us is perfect, but it is as close to being a little slice of Heaven as I’ve found on earth.

If you would like to learn about church love and church family, please come visit us at Trinity Baptist Church 42062 Pumpkin Center Road.  If you’re RV traveling and want a place to worship God we’re off of Exit 35 on I-12.  Pumpkintrinity oval Center/Baptist is the exit name.  The church is about a mile down on the left hand side.   The website for more information is: http://pumpkincenter.org. To sum it all up God is so Great!  I will miss these folks dearly as we travel, but we know that Trinity will always be our “home church”.

We are sitting in Dora this rainy Sunday afternoon.  I love the sound of rain but it’s gone on day after day for over a week now.  Sunday afternoons are perfect for the rain since we can nap.  We’re also watching the Atlanta Falcons pound away on the Seattle Seahawks.  The Atlanta Dirty Birds are the least favorite team to loyal Saints fans.   Since the Saints are not in the playoffs I’m watching the Falcons today with a different mindset.  I can see that they are a great team with strong talented players.  I will put that out of my mind when the new season starts later this year and they’ll go back to being our bitter division rivals, the Dirty Birds from Atlanta!

01.10.13 Big Birthday Cakes and Tiny Washer Dryers

Today’s blog is about my Honey Roy’s 62nd birthday and our tiny RV washer dryer.  They have nothing in common but it’s my blog so they go together!

Roy celebrates his 62nd birthday today!  Retirement age at last!!!!  He also turned in his resignation this week effective February 28th of this year.  Not that we can start traveling then, we still have to wait for the house to sell for me to retire.  But is it certainly another step in the plan we laid out for all this.  Our granddaughter Madisyn and son Chip came to the office to surprise Roy with a visit.  He didn’t know that they also brought a giant lemon/chocolate doberge cake from our local bakery Caronna’s.  Doberge’s cakes have been a tradition in our family for many years.  Lemon is my favorite and Chocolate is Roy’s so we have to get a half and half!  If you’re not from the New Orleans area or have never had a doberge cake here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“Doberge cake is a layered dessert originating in New Orleans.  Still popular in the area, the cake is made of multiple thin layers of cake alternating with dessert pudding. Very often the cakes are made with half chocolate pudding and half lemon pudding. They are covered in a thin layer of butter cream and a fondant shell or, alternately, a poured glaze on the outside.”

All of his coworkers, Chip, Madisyn and I sang Happy Birthday to Roy and shared the delicious cake. He’s never been big on birthdays but I knew this was my last chance to have an office birthday party for him so we did it and he was happy!  Our coworkers haven’t seen Madisyn for several months since she moved to Florida so they got to see how much she’s grown.  She even sang “Twinkle, Twinkle” and the “ABC” song for them and wasn’t shy about it at all.  She’s becoming a great little performer!

Our Fleetwood Excursion came with a Splendide combination washer/dryer pictured below.

It is in our bedroom behind louvered doors in the wall next to our closet at the back of Dora our RV.  The bedroom TV is positioned immediately above the washer/dryer.

 It’s really cute and small.  It can hold an outfit for one person (example: pair of blue jeans, a shirt and underwear) or a similar sized load of other clothing.  Probably ¼ of a load in a normal washer.  I do not know where the water goes to because Roy says there is no tubing coming out of it to drain the water.  I’m sure we could learn but it washes and dries fine so I’m happy.  It’s a mystery to me how it goes from washer to dryer and everything comes out fine each time but I sure won’t question what works! One unit changes from a washer to a dryer all on its own!  I only use 2 teaspoons of liquid, not concentrated laundry detergent and 2 teaspoons of liquid fabric softener per load.  Quite a money saver there! It has settings for cotton, permanent press and delicate like a normal washer.   You set the drying time from 30 minutes to 120 minutes.  The washing cycle is very brief compared to the drying.  It usually takes 100 minutes to dry and about 20 minutes to wash.  While that’s a long time it’s okay because I put a load in when we leave for work, fluff it when we get home and hang things up.  Laundry takes just a minute to put away because you have such a small quantity of clothing per load. 

Now for the weird part about the washer/dryer combo.  About four times during the spin and dry cycles it gets to going so fast and hard that the RV shakes and it sounds like a jet landing.  Roy says it shakes his teeth! It doesn’t bother me as much as it does him.  Our new flat panel TV is in the space above the washer/dryer and I was beginning to think it must be doing damage to the components in the TV with all the shaking but  the TV picture is still fine.  Roy investigated the shaking this week and found the washer dryer has blocks holding it in place and you can reach it through a panel in the closet.  He couldn’t do much without disassembling a lot of things but whatever he did seems to have greatly reduced the shaking.  I stopped doing two loads a day when the shaking started being a problem.  Since he worked on it I do what I wore the day before the next morning and wash after work what Roy wore during the day.  It’s not at all like doing two loads of laundry in a house.  It is a very mini version of it and quite doable.  Once we retire we’ll have shorts instead of long pants so the loads will be smaller!  We have a laundry bin built into one of the cabinets and it’s mostly empty since all our laundry is done each day.

Discussion on RV forums indicate that some people who don’t have the washer/dryer like to use the space for storage and they do their laundry at a Laundromat once a week or so.  For now we’re good with storage and I like my little Splendide.  I’m sure I’ll have to take blankets and bedspreads to a commercial establishment when the time comes.  It’s an odd little machine and has a couple of limitations, but otherwise I think our little washer/dryer will do just fine!

One of the very best things about our tiny washing machine is it’s location.  It’s right next to the closet and the bed.  When the clothes are finished I take them out, lay them out on the bed, grab a hanger out of the closet and hang the clothes up.  All without moving from standing in one place!!!  No more carrying a whole load of clothes from the bedroom all the way to the laundry room and then carrying the clean clothes back to the bedrooms.  The laundry basket, closet and washing machine are all in the same 5 square foot area!  Plus I can watch the TV over the washer while doing all of it!

Just heard today that our Saints quarterback Drew Brees will take RGIIIs place in the Pro Bowl!  Now we have a reason to watch it!

01.04.13 Black tanks and toilets, oh my!

Today’s blog may not be of any interest to our family and friends, unless they plan on RVing or have a fascination for all that is RV related.  If you want to learn about RVing keep reading.  This may be a very weird blog to those who really just want to know about our travels, because it’s about the toilet and the black tank.  If you are planning on living in an RV, and know nothing about an RV toilet this is good information for you.  We don’t know all yet but have learned enough to know we can share with those who are just starting out. Since the weirdness of all this is slowly becoming our normal, here goes! THERE WILL BE NO PICTURES IN THIS BLOG!

Roy and I have never camped in our lives, not in a tent, not in a cabin and certainly not in an RV.  The closest our family ever came to camping was when our sons camped out in their big tree house across the pond from our house.  Roy and I slept in our nice warm bed while they roughed it in the tree house, never more than one night at a time!

We’ve never even been in an RV until we started looking for ours.  We went into this knowing absolutely nothing about this new world of ours so the odds of making mistakes is high and the odds of us learning a lot is high as well.  Everything is new and interesting to us.  I’ve never used a toilet that didn’t flush using a handle on the toilet tank.  Our new home has a toilet that flushes by stepping on a pedal and has no holding tank behind the toilet.  This aspect of RVing is absolutely the weirdest part of our transition from a sticks house to an RV. 

I’m not a plumber but I’ve seen enough plumbing work done to understand how a house toilet works.  Fairly simple and who really cares what happens once you flush.  Well in an RV it’s very different.  There is no water (or very little) in the toilet bowl.  You can add more water by lifting up on the pedal which is the reverse of what you do when you’re flushing and you push down on the pedal.  That allows some water into the bowl for “special occasions”.  I don’t want to get too graphic so if you can’t imagine what a “special occasion” is, think about it. 

Once you’ve done whatever you’re going to do in the toilet, you push the pedal down with your foot to flush it.  A little dome opens over a 3 to 4 inch wide pipe and your “stuff” goes down the pipe to the big black tank which in our RV goes from one side of the RV to the other.  You can look down the tank (yes I did that today!) and see all your stuff and water.  Not something I want to do again but I did learn from it.  I learned all this today because Roy took me on a potty tour to learn all about the black tank and how the toilet works.  I want to learn as much as possible about all things RV so I can be as helpful as possible when we are on the road.

The black tank is a large tank that is black that all of the toilet water, toilet paper and “stuff” goes into.  Nothing else goes into it.  The gray tank is a large tank that is gray that all the shower water and sink water goes into.  Since we are parked in our own driveway and we don’t live near anyone we have a long expandable tube attached to the gray tank (definitely not the black tank) and it continually empties into our side yard.  That allows us to not worry about filling up the gray tank and having to empty it. 

We also had a problem which was uncovered today when I opened one of the empty storage bins underneath the RV (right under the toilet) to see how much room was in it.  It was empty but had a lot of pee in it which is just about as gross as it gets.  Roy had to figure out where it was coming from so he could stop it which lead to the toilet lesson for the day!  We now have one very clean and sanitized storage bin!

Something interesting about the black tank – it has sensors that show up on the control panel indicating whether it is ¼, ½ ¾ or completely full. The gray tank has the same type sensors so you know when to empty both of them.  This is a whole different aspect that is totally, totally different than a house toilet.  About every two weeks we have to empty our black tank and you do that at a “dump”.  RV dealerships have dumps and our RV spot at Disney had one.  I think a lot of RV parks have them but don’t have any experience with those yet. 

We know nothing about the chemicals some use in their tanks.  Most people say to just make sure you put plenty of water in the tank so nothing gets stuck……………………  We just read about a method called the GEO Method that uses Dawn Dishwashing Liquid (blue) and Calgon Water Softener after you empty your tank and it takes care of lots of issues! We’ll try that one as soon as we buy some.   We don’t have a real problem so far. I like things always smelling pleasant and reading other people’s descriptions of “smells” makes me want to be much more proactive than sit back and wait!

Toilet paper is another “topic” of discussion amongst RV owners.  Our wonderful Charmin toilet paper is considered by some to be not appropriate for use in an RV toilet.  Most RV bloggers say they use their regular toilet paper and don’t have any problems.  Our RV Technician says that you must buy RV toilet paper or it stays forever in the bottom of your black tank and can fill it up.  He said it mixes with the liquids and makes like paper mache which is hard.  I’ve heard RV toilet paper is not as soft.  We just bought some septic tank safe paper at Lowe’s so we’ll see how that does and then try real RV toilet paper last.  There is a test they say to do that shows if the toilet paper dissolves quickly.  I put our Charmin in a cup of water and stirred it for a few days and it did get looser but didn’t come close to disintegrating like they say the RV toilet paper does.  I’ll have to put the paper we just bought to that same test and report on it!

Like I said previously this aspect of RVing is the weirdest.  I’ve never liked using the toilet on an airplane for similar reasons to why I dreaded using the toilet in our RV.  It must be some phobia I had but now I think our RV toilet is very normal.  I guess it’s our new normal! 

This is definitely a basics lesson on RV toilets as we only know what we’ve learned these last two months and you don’t just naturally spend too much time focusing on the toilet!  If experienced RVers read this and can give us tips please comment away!

I plan to write about our tiny washer/dryer combo next time since that’s a cool, very different aspect of RV life.

01.01.13 Reflections on God’s Blessings in 2012, Looking Forward to 2013

What a year 2012 has been. Those closest to us, who lived it with us, know that 2012 was a challenging one for Roy and I. Some challenges were too deep and private to list here. Only with God’s support and guidance did we not cave under the pressures that presented themselves in 2012. I want no one’s sympathy. It’s just what happened this year. We’ve addressed all the challenges as best we could.   100_2687

Our cherished family dog Nacho died this year, the wrong man was elected President, the Saints bombed and our country seems to be growing increasingly dark and turning away from God by leaps and bounds. Our staying here in Hammond isn’t going to change any of our personal challenges so we’ve made the decision to make 2013 and beyond years to look forward to.

This past year also brought about some exciting new developments. I’d much rather focus on these cool things than the ugly parts of 2012! We’ve received much love and support from family and friends this year. We learned many life lessons this year. Roy and I took a Computer Science course together at Southeastern Louisiana University and both made an A. We enjoyed the hours of studying together and walking to class holding hands! We took a fantastic Christmas trip to Disneyworld with our precious granddaughter Madisyn in our new home and we all made it back in one piece, even Dora. rcrcmcmickey

As a result of all the brain tests I found out that my IQ is extremely high which if you knew me you might be surprised to learn that. Also my eye surgeries resulted in my not needing contacts or reading glasses AT ALL!!! We’ve sold all of our household furniture. We thought that would be hard to do but it’s been fairly easy. We met some criminals in Texas and some wonderful policemen who got our money back! We found our home for the future, Dora the Explorer. rvmain

The month of November was dedicated to naming things we are thankful for and I had way more than 30 days of big things to be thankful for. We were handed lemons this year and made lots of sweet tasting lemonade from it! We are a truly blessed couple and with God’s guidance are planning for a wonderful 2013 doing our best in all we do for His Glory and making ourselves open for wherever He leads us.

The scripture below makes it clear that Gods ways and plans for us are far higher than our plans so we MUST leave 2013 in his hands. Isaiah 55:8-9, “’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”

We plan to head west once we take to the road, seeing Texas one region at a time. We can’t really make too many plans now because the timing of our travels starting will determine what area of the country we head to. If it’s still cold we will stay in the south until the heat reaches our tolerance point! We have contacted the North Americans Mission Board to find about doing campground ministry. They’ve provided us some general information and as we get further into our traveling will be able to add more details to that plan. If this is what God wants us to do he will make a way for it to happen!

Our invitation hymn Sunday morning was especially meaningful to me. It’s what I strive for but fall short of many times. I’ve included the lyrics below in case you’ve never heard the song. It’s a perfect depiction of the life a Christian should live.

Living for Jesus, written in 1917 by Thomas Chisholm

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.

Happy New Years everyone!