04.07.13 Computer sale – BUST!, Workamping change…………….

Well, the final garage sale did not go as planned. 😦  We sold very little actual computer related items. Several other items we dug up to sell but not the computer stuff.  A friend of ours bought a computer but no one else did.  Not one computer knowledgeable person came to the sale which was odd because we invited a lot including local computer repair companies.  The amount of parts that Roy had was tremendous and would have been a great buy for anyone doing that.   Oh well, guess Good Will will get a great donation.  Liz did great selling her stuff so at least there’s an upside to the day! And we got to play with Madisyn a lot while we were waiting for people to come and that certainly make any bad day into a good day!  At least, the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed resting in our rockers.

I got to show our house to someone yesterday.  She didn’t know how much the rent was when she stopped and asked to see it but she loved it.  Haven’t heard from her so the rent was probably too high but it was really nice to get to walk someone through our house and enjoy their reaction to the beauty of it.  One day someone else will get to live there!

We’ve determined that if we are willing to work 32-35 hours a week we can go ahead and start our adventure. We’ve updated our workamping resume to include Roy and all the great things he can do.  We are sending it to employers who are looking for someone to work more than the original 20 hours we thought we’d work.  Some employers pay you for the hours you work and give you a free RV site, so those are the ones we are targeting.   We would keep the house on the market until it does sell and then we can move down to a 20 hour a week position somewhere or one that just gives you a free site for under 20 hours worked.  That’s the real goal but since we need the money from the house sale we can’t get there quite yet!  We’ve seen some jobs in Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado and wouldn’t that be so cool to be in that area of the country during the hot summer months!   When it got up to 80 degrees recently we just knew it was getting close to time to be up north and possibly soon we will be!

We’re heading to Pass Christian next Friday for a weekend stay at Wolf River RV park.  Can’t wait!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Ephesians 4:4

03.21.13 Spring has sprung, house for sale OR RENT, He is Risen!!

555136_169970859819963_1514941800_nWe are having such beautiful springtime weather and I’ve been enjoying sitting in my rocker outside under our RV’s awning reading in the evenings and weekends.  Even though we are parked in our driveway, the view is beautiful and very peaceful.  All of our azalea bushes are blooming in varying shades of pink and white.   I sometimes imagine what it will feel like when we’re at different RV locations, sitting out under the awning in our rockers.  I picture looking out over a body of water, or sitting in a forest and wonder how azaleasit will compare with our little driveway spot!  When we’re finally on the road, wherever Roy and I are together will be our home.

I didn’t realize how many books I owned until I started selling them.  A few years ago I thought I downsized my book collection but it seems to have multiplied while on the bookshelves and when transferred to boxes, one box became two and then three and then four.  Of course we cannot take all those with us so I sold them and am now increasing my Kindle library of books.  What a space saver and it fits in my purse and for many more reasons I love it!  Even my Bible is on my Kindle, in three translations!  Gotta love technology in cases like this.

I went to Sam’s Club after work today(Friday) and bought lots of fresh fruit.  Madisyn and I are feasting out on nectarines and plums. She’s never had them before and is loving their wonderful flavors.  Best way to describe her eating them is that she actually gobbled them! She’s spending the night tonight so all’s well in Grannie and Paw Paw’s world!!

We just had a visit from our nephew Greg and his precious daughter Sally.  They haven’t seen Dora before and Sally was quite curious about the little house where Rosie and Roy are living.  With the computer he dropped off for Roy to work on, Roy officially has a full week of computers to keep him busy and out of trouble.  There are computers all over this place!

Roy’s made great progress on clearing out the computer room.  Madisyn and I chipped in some help and it’s now completely empty!  His computer sale is set for April 6th.  Some of the things he’ll be selling are: 10 computers with monitors and keyboards, hard drives, CD drives, some Linksys wireless products, document scanners, a printer, some ink cartridges, computer fans, lots of little computer parts, cables, dozens of computer programs, PrintMaster software and lots more including desks, bookshelf and salt water fishing rods/reels.  My own personal computer is for sale with two 19″ monitors and super dupper UPS, keyboard and lots of great programs, video card and more!  It’s a Roy Chauvin built computer which only has the best!  At that point we’ll be 100 percent finished clearing out the entire house and selling everything we’re going to sell!  FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since the house’s computer room has been disassembled and Roy is 2013-03-18_17-18-29_695still repairing computers he seems to have expanded his allotted computer space in Dora.  In the middle of Dora’s kitchen floor is a folding table with computer “stuff” all over it.  Here’s a picture of him repairing someone’s computer in the middle of the kitchen.  What a weird life we now live!

The housing market in our area is about as down as it gets.  There are so many houses for sale and so very few buyers.  Of those few buyers only a few of them have the down payment and good credit to make it happen.  Of course we pick now to try to sell our house!  It’s believed that the market should be better in a year or two or three, just not now.  Having realized this and gotten some good advice from realtors we’ve decided to rent our house for the next year or two or three.  When and if the housing market gets better we’ll try again to sell the house and hopefully then not lose money on the sale.  Now, we just to find some really good renters! Otherwise we’ll have to start a blog about how to live in an RV in your driveway for FOREVER!

As always we sang some beautiful songs in church this morning.  And as always, they were about God, go figure yes in a church we do sing about God.  If you haven’t been lately you should try it!  Even though said jokingly, I’m quite serious about that. This Sunday was Palm Sunday which in the Christian faith is the observance of the day Christ rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  The people, recognizing his significance, placed palm leaves in the streets ahead of him. This coming Friday is our day of observance of when Christ as killed on the cross to save Christians from our sins.  Those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord have had our sins washed away by the very act of Christ dying in agony and pain.  He chose to do that for us and we, mostly me, are so unworthy of that.  My absolute favorite part of Easter is Resurrection Sunday when those at Calvary realized that “He is Risen”.   Jesus’ death, without his resurrection, would have meant nothing.  Yet, because of the Resurrection, it means everything!

This is not the time of year where you need to be inside on your computer, so now that you know what the Chauvin’s have been up to, get outside, enjoy the sunshine and beauty of God’s world! Have a blessed Easter and ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

03.11.13 Wonderful food and saying goodbye to Roy’s computer toys…..

Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NL

Roy finished his work on the washer/dryer after recovering a hand full of change, a Saints earring and a necklace from the pump.  He’s totally familiar with the little washer/dryer that was a total mystery to him before.  I am now charged with searching all clothing before washing it to make sure nothing is left in them that could clog up the pump again.

My retired husband surprised me one day this week by vacuuming, taking out the trash, doing 3 loads of laundry, cooking dinner and several other wonderful things to chickenbrocollicome home from work to.  He cooked baked chicken and fresh broccoli and cauliflower with cheese.  He even served it to me!  What a nice thing to come home to after a long work day!

Another day he cooked real mashed potatoes to go with the roast and carrots that were cooking in the crock pot.  That’s an ongoing issue between us.  I make mashed potatoes from a box of potato buds and he’s always wanting real mashed potatoes so when it was his turn to cook he made the real ones.  One of the presents in his care package from his co workers when he left work was a bag of potatoes and a recipe from our boss, Donna, for real mashed potatoes.  He made good use of that and they were delicious!!  Here’s a picture of  that meal.  I promise I won’t post a picture of every meal we have but this was such a big deal I just had to!

We’ve begun the formidable task of going through all his computer accessories, programs, disks, parts and computers getting them ready for his computer sale.  Chip and his friend Stan helped us by moving the two desks and bookcase out to the garage this past week.  Yesterday at work I received a text message from Roy that said:  “I’m a hoarder.  I can’t do this by myself.  I need your help.”  I could just hear the desperation in his voice.  When I got home we spent Friday evening getting the garage ready with the tables, two desks and bookcase.  He placed 6 of the computers, monitors and keyboards in place.  Today we worked in the computer room for several hours dividing things into piles of things to keep, sell or trash.  The sale pile got priced and packed in storage bins to make out to the garage. Seeing him sitting in the middle of all his little toys with a dozen jump drives around his neck I had to take a picture of him.  He made comments like “This is a sad, sad day.” and I made comments like “You have more computer stuff than any 10 families should have.”

royincomputerroomHowever we look at it, we’re making progress and hopefully by tomorrow night the room will be mostly empty if not totally empty!!!  Hopefully we’ll have the computer sale the Saturday after Easter.  Here’s a picture of the garage with a few of the computers set up.  There are more to come! computers in garage

We’re having our family over to our empty house for Easter.  It will be totally different from any other holiday we’ve had but with everybody bringing their own chairs and a table and food, we’ll have fun just being together, hunting Easter eggs and playing games! My sister and her children’s families are very special to us and this might be our last holiday at our sticks  and bricks house with them.  Some parts of this taking off and traveling does make me sad and leaving our families is one of those.

I was especially thankful to our friend Rhonda who is buying our garden wagon but has allowed us to keep it until we’re finished with it.  We made very good use of it today hauling things out to the garage.  We stopped sifting through computer “stuff” long enough to cook dinner and eat and we’re going back up there to do some more.  Having a completely empty house is the goal and we can see the goal in sight!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

03.04.13 Madisyn’s 4th birthday, bad bad Dora, new asking price and hot nutritious dinner!

We have had visitors to our blog from Greece, Australia, Pakistan, Italy, Panama, Qatar and Ireland since the last time I updated countries.  Still can’t figure out why but I think it’s cool!  We also have 23 followers now.  I love to look at the stats and see the countries, how many followers and what they searched for to reach us.

We’re still stuck on not knowing what state to consider our domicile.  We have been researching Tennessee heavily due to its extremely low automobile insurance rates.  It would be perfect for all aspect except for mail forwarding. We’re still trying to find a good mail forwarding service there.  I’ve searched Google, Yahoo, many RV forums and don’t find that one key thing.  If we don’t find one in Tennessee we’ll go with South Dakota.  They have all the attractive RV friendly aspects and a few mail forwarding services.   I see us more as Tennessee residents but if we must do it, off to South Dakota we’ll go since you have to spend one night there to get our driver’s licenses!

Precious Madisyn’s 4th birthday party was this past Sunday, the theme was Pop Rock Princess and she certainly was just that!  For once I’m very thankful we hadn’t sold our house already because the party location was changed to our 574862_301198886673503_305735208_nsticks and bricks house (where her mom and dad live) due to the cold, windy weather and it was a smashing success.

2013-03-02_18-22-20_260Our empty dining room provided plenty of space for setting up three tables and all the decorations. Her mommy Liz’s creative ideas all came together with some really cute decorations, food and favor ideas.

The children had a blast jumping in the castle inflatable, dressing up, breaking open the rock guitar pinata, eating rock candy, star shaped sandwiches, rock star cake and just plain old playing!

46954_300842490042476_853496952_nThe rock candy I wrote about before wasn’t a total success. About half of them didn’t grow any rocks and the other half grew about half the rocks we hoped for. It still 2013-03-02_18-20-21_977came out cute and we used the ones that did grow. Check out the picture of the ones that did grow!  That was probably as much sugar as the kids needed anyway! We believe they didn’t grow to what we hoped they would because the directions said to set them in a warm sunny window and they sat in a cold house with very little sun coming in the window.

Some of the Pop Rock Princess theme foods and decorations 2013-03-03_13-54-05_764 2013-03-03_13-54-14_629are shown in the pictures.

It’s events like this that cause us to pause and wonder how we’ll handle not being around for all this fun when we’re on the road.  We’ll just have to plan to be back for birthdays and Christmas.

We’ve really enjoyed Madisyn’s little visits when we get home from work and other times.  Now that Roy’s retired he’s getting to spend more time with her which he cherishes. She puts a smile on our face when we’re down or not feeling good and is just so loving and such a bright little girl.  Since we’ll be 602723_300839843376074_436011214_ntaking to the road soon, I guess this good thing will come to an end in due time.  I like to think that God is giving us this time with her to build memories that will hold us in between visits when the time comes for us to leave.

On to why there is a Bad, Bad Dora in the title.  Dora has been difficult about filling her rear air bags, the motor in one of her slides broke and was changed, the lights went out in the bedroom night before last and the air conditioning that runs when we’re driving wasn’t putting out cold air.  I’m sure she could be doing worse things than this and we are thankful this is all that Dora’s up to but it’s frustrating to Roy to say the least!  Hence Bad Bad Dora! They are probably all things Roy will be able to take care of now that he’s retired. He’s already changed out the slide motor, he found the fuse that was causing the lights to go out, and when time allows he’ll work on the air suspension and air conditioning.  The two air conditioning units in the RV works great, just the dashboard a/c is a concern.   Being retired you’d think Roy would have the time to just jump right on it, but as of about an hour ago he has 5 computers he’s working on for customers.  It’s a good start to his part-time business!  When we go on the road he’ll be offering his services for hire to other RVers at parks where we stay.  If anyone reading this in an RV ever need their computer worked on look out for our Dora and the Explorers sign!

My honey had a hot nutritious meal ready for me when I got home from work yesterday.  What a treat that was!!!  As busy as he is now, he is still at home and I’m not.  It sure is nice to come home from a hard day at work to a nice dinner.  Really makes me feel loved!

We made the decision to once again lower our asking price for the house and our agent is making the change known.  The current problem in our area is that contractors are building brand new homes for between $85 and $95 a square foot.  Since we are competing with them for sales we have to lower our price to at least $95 a square foot.  Another couple we know who are selling their house got the same advice from their agent and dropped their price.  I asked our agent to shout this drastic reduction from the rooftops if necessary!  Git ‘er sold!

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 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!

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!

01.04.13 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 pushing down on the pedal just a little bit.  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.