02.28.13 Roy is Retired!!!!!

Over 40 years ago a young boy named Roy started his first job delivering newspapers from his bike in Metairie, Louisiana.  After holding various jobs in his youth and early manhood he worked for 30 years as a self-employed carpet installer.  Today he retired from being a full-time computer technician at Southeastern Louisiana University.  One more step towards freedom!

His department, Client Services (fancy name for the Computer Help Desk) had a really nice going away party for him today.  Roy and I have the same boss, Donna Methvien, who is one of the most creative people I know.  Her creative talents really shined today! During their weekly meeting (which they postponed from Monday so they could properly tell him good-bye!)  she presented him with two “Care Packages” containing things he’ll need in his new life and something to remember them by.  Our daughter in law Liz, and granddaughter Madisyn were there, and you can see Madisyn peeking into Paw Paw’s care package below!


There was even a mini baking pan for our mini house!  2013-02-28_17-31-02_300I’ve included pictures below of a couple of the things he got and of the care package. They all had cute little sayings attached to them, pertaining to whatever the object was as it relates to Roy’s retired life.  You can read what they say in the pictures.


He received a second smaller care package with a message on top of an egg carton “Since you’re going to “fly the coop”, here is a reminder of the main things you’re leaving behind!”  Inside were a dozen fresh yard eggs that the 12 staff members wrote their names on.

eggs insideeggcartonRarely do I see Roy choked up, but as he told them all good-bye he was.  He’s enjoyed working with this group of people so much. He’s especially enjoyed sharing with them all the little tricks and things he’s learned about repairing computers, making images, etc.  Both Donna Methvien and his immediate supervisor Tommy Mocsary have become good friends with Roy and admire and respect the quality of his work and his knowledge a lot. Roy worked independently for so many decades, set his own hours, worked a lot outside and mostly by himself.   I was concerned when he started to work a 7:30 – 5:00 job inside with other people that he might not like the structure and confinement, but to my surprise he’s adapted well and made many new friends in the process.  I could tell by the staff’s comments today that he is well liked and appreciated.

I’m going to miss having my hubby working across the hall, eating our lunch together watching “Green Acres” reruns in the conference room with our boss Donna and others who might join us, or eating outside in the Student Union park watching all the students.  Before long I’ll be saying good-bye to these same people and that will be very sad for me.  However, Dora and the big USA are waiting for Roy and I to visit, so off we’ll go!  Celebratory rib eye steak and mashed potatoes tonight, RV style!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

02.26.13 Making rock candy, Roy’s retirement, When Jesus Saves, Dear friends visiting, Open house~~~

Granddaughter Madisyn ‘s 4th birthday party is Sunday.  rock candy finishedThe Pop Rock Princess theme is conjuring up a lot of neat food ideas, etc.  Her mommy wants to make candy rocks on a stick and I’m getting to help!!  You know the ones we loved as kids.  I only remember getting them when we’d visit Rock City near Chattanooga in Tennessee.  She found the idea on Pinterest and it will go great with the Pop Rock theme.  The recipe says to make the mixture at least a week ahead of time so last Saturday was the Pinterest project day!

2013-02-24_13-42-59_197Our son Chip, his wife Liz and Madisyn are living in our sticks and bricks house until they can find an apartment of their own.  It’s nice having them back together again as a family and we sure enjoy getting to play with Madisyn often!

Here’s a picture of all the cups lined up with either hot pink or purple sugar solution in them.  It sits for a week while the sugar crystals form rocks on the wood sticks.  We’ll see next weekend how successful we were.  However they turn out, we  had a deliciously sweet fun time making them!

Our dear friends, John and Donna Mollere, came to visit us on Sunday afternoon.  They are the couple who allowed us to bring their Class C motor home to our house and live in it a while so we could get a real feel for RV life. We really learned so much from that experience and it helped us make a more informed decision when we chose Dora.  They haven’t seen our sweet Dora since we purchased her and today they came to meet her!  John and Donna have a lot of RV experience and John gave Roy great guidance when we were learning and looking for one.  They both approve of our Dora!  Donna told us about their visits to the  Amish country in Pennsylvania and we’re thinking we’d love to take our RVs on a trip there.  They are some of the only people we know personally who have an RV.  While they don’t live in their motor home, they love to travel in theirs and can really be good guides to us in our travels.  It would be great to see them while we’re on the road.  Anyone else who would like to do some traveling with us, get hitched and come along with us or meet up with us!  We’ll be posting blogs of where we are and where we plan to go so you’ll know where to find us!

2013-02-17_18-17-56_233 In this picture I am holding up the red tube used to empty Dora’s “stuff” every two weeks. The tube has its own holders (the grey things underneath) but it seems to dip just before those grey things start holding it up and we want to make sure it’s really empty and cleaned out so I help hold it up a bit!  My friend Susan told me this picture reminded her of Eddie emptying his RV tanks in his bathrobe in the snow on the movie Christmas Vacation.   I’m at least a little better dressed for the occasion!

We had another Open House for the sticks and bricks Sunday and again no one came.  On Tuesday (today) we had a broker’s open house and 20+ came through the house.  I think this would have been a great thing to have four months ago, but at least they saw it today.  Their comments were encouraging, yet they recommended a price reduction since the real estate market is just not supporting what it should.  We really don’t want to cut the price again but may have to at some point.  Once Roy’s computer stuff is cleared out of the upstairs computer room we’ll consider it, we’re just not quite there yet.  There is no real urgency to selling the house, just our desire to be on the road now that the weather is so beautiful!

We just completed the Healthy Church Conference II – Awakening at our church, Trinity Baptist Church in Pumpkin Center, LA.   It started Friday and we heard three great sermons from three wonderful preachers.   Our choir director Jessica Davis Bryan is brilliant at picking songs that perfectly support the sermon message.  One of the choir specials was “When Jesus Saves”.  I’ve never heard it before and the words of the song were such a perfect depiction of what happens to us when Jesus saves us, not just the salvation part but how our lives change in amazing ways.  I wanted to share the words of the song here but couldn’t find them anywhere and I know lots of tricks for finding lyrics to songs!  I did find a You Tube video of the gospel group Gold City singing the song.  While they are great professional singers, but I really loved hearing our choir delivered the message so powerfully!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18zUPOs7qu8.  I am going to miss the Trinity Baptist Church choir so much when we leave.  There is something about hearing them sing Christian music that comes in a close second in my heart to a great sermon.  Whether it is hymns, psalms or contemporary I love almost all Christian music sung by anyone!  The rock Christian stuff is not my taste but as long as the message is true to God’s word I’m sure there’s someone that it can reach.

Roy’s last day of work before retirement is this Thursday, February 28th.  He’s worked in several fields over the 40+ years he’s worked.  He’s delivered papers (as a kid on his bicycle), assisted in making dental crowns, he’s welded, sheetrocked, remodeled houses (with me!!), some air conditioning, installed carpet (for 30 years) and most recently repaired computers at Southeastern Louisiana University.  Probably some things in between that I’ve forgotten about.  He can truly do or fix anything!  Just ask Madisyn!  I’m proud of all2013-02-24_14-05-39_258 he’s accomplished in his work life.  Roy has a strong work ethic which I believe he’s passed along to our sons.  He’s worked very hard our whole marriage doing his best to provide for me and the boys.  He’ll still be available at home for computer repair so give him a holler and he’ll fix ya up! This is his new computer repair area (previously known as our dinette booth in the RV).  It will undergo some cosmetic changes to better fit it for computer repairs but for now this will be his new work home!  Happy Retirement Roy!!!

Again, this has been a random collection of thoughts and events but that’s what’s going on for now! Ya’ll come back now ya hear!

02.18.13 All I know about Work Camping aka Workamping AND You can do this too!

This blog post is about work camping which is what we plan to do while we are exploring America.  The picture immediately below has nothing to do with work camping but is a recent picture we took of Dora, Roy, myself and our granddaughter Madisyn.


Work camping is described as anyone who has chosen to work either part-time or full-time while living in an RV of some sort.  In my case, the plan is to work part-time for 2-6 months at a time in one area while exploring the cities and country sides around there in our free time.  We’ll then move on to another location and either not work or work camp there.  We originally planned to go west when we start traveling.  We’ve now decided that the part of the country we want to see first is north to northeast from Louisiana.  I’m kind of hoping for a nice long stay in the Tennessee area first, but we’ll see where work, etc. takes us when the time comes.

Owners of campgrounds, state and national parks and other businesses will hire RV owners to work for them for a few hours each week in exchange for full hookups at their campground and some pay an hourly rate for any hours worked over the exchange.  Some want full-time workers and/or just pay wages (no full hook up exchange).  I’m opting for the part-time work with full hook up exchange.  I’m not ready to just stop working totally and the part-time work in different places around the USA is very appealing to me.  Plus, saving on campground fees will help us afford the traveling we want to do!

Places like Disneyworld, Disneyland, Dollywood and other theme parks are big employers of work campers and even give free admission to their parks as part of your hiring package.  I definitely hope to do that at each of those locations some time along the way.

Work campers do a variety of jobs including office work, taking reservations, food service, manning a visitor’s center, interior and exterior maintenance, grass mowing /lawn care, tour guides, gift shop sales, cleaning cabins, cleaning fish and pretty much whatever is needed.  I’ve signed up for a website where employers list their open positions.  It’s at www.workampers.com if you’d like to read more about them.  They teach you everything you could ever want to know about work/camping which they call “Workamping”.  Some of the teaching is free and some you pay a little for.  The annual membership fee is around $40 which gives you access to a lot of things as well as their bi-monthly publication Workamper News where employer list their employment opportunities.

One of their features is providing a place to create and host your work camping Awesome Applicant resume on the web.   They have a course, which they charge for, that teaches you how to have the absolute best resume, but I’m cheap and chose to do it myself.  We’ll see how successful I am when I start applying.   You show what your earliest start date is, the states you are willing to work in and what job responsibilities you want to do, include pictures of yourself and your RV and post it on the Workampers website.  One of the sections is where you sell yourself and tell all about your skills and about yourself personally.  Normally weed pulling, plant tending and party planning aren’t skills I’d put on  my work resume but it sure is on this one!   They have hundreds of employers who check the database and will contact you if they like what they see!  You can also apply by responding to any of the positions posted, by state, in the Workamper News magazine which comes on-line and on paper.  It may sound like it but I’m not trying to sell anyone on going with them.  They are just the only company that I know does this and they seem quite successful.

There aren’t a lot of face to face interviews so phone interviews and pictures are all the employer has to go on.  They can send the applicant a link to their website and answer any questions the applicant has over the phone.  My application states that I’ll be available by July 1st (Please somebody buy our house!) which seems a ways off but these employers have to make sure their places are staffed way ahead of time so that’s the way it works!

Roy will be continuing his computer repair service at each campground we stop on our travels.  People who live full-time in RVs don’t usually have access to a computer repairman and most everyone in an RV has a computer.  We believe he’ll be able to have a good business doing this on just a part-time basis. He will also be considered a work camper even though he will be self employed.  Work camping in all of its forms has made the full-time RV life affordable for many more people than you’d think.

Lots of people have said they wish they could be doing what we are and probably most of them could.  If you list all your current expenses and see what would be eliminated by living in an RV (electricity, property taxes, trash pick up, water bill, some reduction in TV and internet) and how much you could sell your house for and all your stuff for to pay off all your debts you’d be surprised how doable full-time RVing can be.   While I’ve talked often about what a lot of work selling everything has been I wouldn’t trade it for the freedom it will give us from being tied down to “things” and being able to travel the USA and experience new cultures and all that makes America the wonderful country that it is!

02.18.13 End of my garage sale era, Roy’s freaky finger, Dora’s bobo slide

GARAGE SALES FOR ME ARE NOW OVER!!!!!!!!!!!! Hallelujah! No more pricing hundreds (felt like thousands) of things, putting signs out in the neighborhood, newspaper ads, Facebook notices, emails to everyone I know and working hours and hours and hours on garage sales!  A couple hundred folks came through on Saturday, buying the last of our earthly stuff!!!  I love visiting with the folks while selling our stuff and seeing nice people take home the little things that have meant something to me.  Other than the money it brought in, the visiting was the most rewarding to me.  My daughter in law Liz and granddaughter Madisyn helped me with this sale and sold some of their stuff too!  Madisyn was quite the little sales lady.  She’d take all the children over to her toy section and help them pick out the toy they wanted mommy or daddy to buy.  And of course the toy section was sold out by the end of the sale!

What’s left was displayed in front of the garage and notices sent out to come get it free.  Cars were in and out all evening until 11 pm (and someone was even there this morning when we woke up!) since I posted it on Facebook’s Tangipahoa Buy, Sell, Trade page!  That has been the best source for selling things I’ve found.  If you live in this area you can sign up on their page and check out all the things folks sell and if you ever want to sell something it’s just a click away!  The last of the things will be donated to a church garage sale today.  We now have a mostly empty garage and all of our stuff is completely out of the house. Won’t someone please buy our house!

Roy has several computers and lots of computer stuff still to sell but that’s his thing and while I know I’ll be helping him some, it won’t be my responsibility which makes me a happy girl!  His retirement date is coming up on the 28th of February and then he can dedicate his time to making that happen.  Once the computer stuff is gone we’ll really be finished with the shedding of our earthly possessions!

It’s taken so long to sell the house that I’m kind of hoping it’s because God’s just been waiting for us to be truly rid of all the “stuff” we own, before he sends us a house buyer!!!  Last weekend we had an open house and zero people came.  It was raining and Mardi Gras parades were rolling.  Next weekend we’ll try again and hopefully someone will come see our beautiful home!

Roy had a freak finger accident this week.  He was peeling a banana and went to flick off the little black tip into the trash can and disjointed his finger.  The ligament running on top came off and his finger was all contorted when I first saw it.  He went to the walk in clinic and then to an orthopedic doctor and was told it just has to heal on its own in a finger splint.  Being a man who makes his living fixing tiny things on computers, we didn’t know how he’d do it.  He has amazed us with being able to continue working without missing a step.  He’s of course enjoyed telling people that I hit him which broke it!  Little old sweet me wouldn’t hurt my honey like that!

Roy spent the afternoon Sunday under Dora working on the slide, wounded finger and all.  All that you could see of  Roy while he was working under Dora - just looked funny to me!The motor to move the passenger slide in and out broke two weeks ago and a part had to be located, received and installed.  I looked under Dora to see him and just found it so funny that he wasn’t laying on the ground working but was sitting up with his head not showing. I didn’t realize there were spaces under Dora where you could do that.  I took a picture of what I could see of him so you can see what I’m talking about.

Madisyn got a little concerned because she couldn’t see Paw Paw’s head so I

Madisyn looking for Paw Paw's head!

took a picture of her looking for him.  It’s  such a joy having her around.  She’s one little girl we’ll miss tremendously when we finally hit the road.  We’re setting up Skype on our computers to visit with her better when that happens.

As of today there have been visitors to my blog from Ireland, Lithuania, Canada, Philippines, Korea, El Salvador, Panama and the United Kingdom.  I’m not sure how they all came to find it, but it’s really neat to think that they did!  I also have 18 followers now who receive emails when I post a new blog.  If you are not one of them, and would like to be notified when a new blog is posted, please go to the main blog page and enter your email address in the “Follow us via email.”

I plan to write in my next blog about Work Camping which is called Workamping by some.  If you’re interested in what that’s about stay tuned!

02.06.13 Hospital Dora, stamp memories, sharing a blessing, Open House, china for sale!!!

I intended my blog to be solely about our adventures traveling but that seems to be on hold waiting for the sale of our home.  In the interim I’ve been sharing what’s going on and what we’re learning about living in an RV.  We still love living in our RV.   Or in Dora’s tummy, like our granddaughter announced one day.  We get in through her ear (the door) and make Dora happy by being in her tummy! We just wish we weren’t still living in our own driveway!!  I now don’t know why we ever thought we needed so much space in our sticks and bricks homes. People have asked what we do when we want alone time.   There are two doors and a small hallway between the living/dining area and the bedroom which provides us all the separation we might need.  I feel like I’m in my own cocoon in our bedroom when reading before bedtime.  It’s a wonderful feeling.   Neither of us feels like we’re in a confined space as you might think we would.

Roy and I have both been sick with congestion moving from head to chest to ears to throat for the last many days and are holed up today in the RV with the windows all covered so now Dora’s a little mini hospital trying to get her Explorers better.

I’m not a very good sit still sick person, so for the last hour or so I’ve been working on taking stamps out of an album of un-cancelled stamps my dad and I collected over the years.  Stamp collecting was a wonderful hobby we both loved.

A page from the un-cancelled stamp album from the 1970s
A page from the un-cancelled stamp album from the 1970s

2013-02-06_18-04-18_127 I have five albums we can’t take with us so I’ve been trying to sell them.  No progress until today when I got an email from a man who has asked for pictures of cancelled Great Britain stamps recently.  He wants to buy the album those are in and I’m delighted.   I brought them all to the estate consignment store this week to hopefully find someone through there who will give them a good home.  I’ve contacted several dealers and auction houses, etc. with no one interested in purchasing them.  Seems stamp collecting has not made it into this generation’s radar and anyone who use to collect them has all they want.  The un-cancelled stamps I am removing from that particular album will be used on Christmas cards, etc. in the future.  Might as well get some use out of them since they are still perfectly good usable stamps.     I have unused  stamps back from 1922 and every year until around 1980 when Daddy died so it will make for some interesting envelope decorations!  There are many beautiful stamps in this collection.  If anyone wants some for craft purposes let me know!  I’d be glad to share.

I’d like to begin sharing some things that are special to me and I hope touch each of you in some way.  The other day I stumbled across a blog, A Holy Experience,  written by Ann Voskamp, a Christian woman, farmer’s wife, mother of six  and it meant so much to me I’d like to share this link to her page with you.  Look around her pages and read previous blogs if it interests you.  Her writing is a wonderful inspiration to women and mothers and I feel lead to share this with those who might be reading my blog.  I can feel Christ speaking through her love and dedication to Him.  I don’t have the type of talent she has but I hope through my blog you’ll be blessed by hers. Be sure to start with her February 4th entry “God Made a Mother and You — So Farmer On!”    It has some similarities to the Super Bowl commercial called God made a Farmer.  Women have unique needs which her writing seems to speak directly to.  Can you tell this has taken hold of my interest!  I believe you will be blessed by it.

Our first Open House is this Sunday from 3-5.  If anyone would like to tour our humble abode and bring a friend who might be house hunting, please join our lovely agent Pat Tucker as she continues her efforts to sell our sticks house!  With football season over we’re hoping folks will be bored and will be driving around and buy our house!  One can only hope.   Our garage sale has been moved to the following Saturday, February 16th.   We have next Monday and Tuesday off work for Mardi Gras and moving the date gave us a couple of good days to get the last things out of our computer room down to the garage for sale.  Roy will have several computers, monitors, keyboards and many other computer items for sale.   How much more ready can we get to hit the road!  I still have a beautiful set of china for sale if anyone is interested.