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!

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.