What A Crazy Transition!

What A Crazy Transition!

My last post here was in February when we came back from the Enchanted Rock trip.  I was a bit shocked at how long it had been because it has been an extremely busy and fast moving month or so.  See, we purchased our RV on February 24, 2017, and did a test run at Eisenhower State Park for Spring Break, but never returned to reality!  I know, shocking!

We met with a man in Krum, Texas, who had a 1982 El Dorado Firenza for cheap and the bones were good and so was the engine.  It was originally from Alaska and the man he purchased it from had done some basic work to it but eventually decided he just didn’t want to continue the work.  We looked at it and thought this might be a great opportunity and bought it.

 There were so many things we didn’t like about the RV and they were just cosmetic so we decided to do some major changes on the inside.  We took out the bathroom for future plans later, the wall between the kitchen cabinet, the kitchen cabinet, the stove area, and the ugly 80’s couch looking thing.  We decided it all had to come out to fit what we needed it to be so we took a sledge hammer and began knocking out walls, counters, stoves, and couches.  Like I said, good bones, scary interior.

The floorplan was pretty much for a double bed-marine shower set up and we needed a space for two twin beds, kitchen area, and a sitting area.  So we decided to take out everything except the closet area and bed space.  This left a very big area to do what we wanted.  We were actually able to get the two twin beds in and get it somewhat ready for basic living.  This doesn’t mean we were able to get cabinets, counter, bathroom, or pantry in yet, but it is a work in progress.  At this point in time, we are paying off some bills and getting money situated so we can take a full two weeks to finish the rig, but that is more towards October at this point.  We are just living day to day.

During the demolition, we have found some pretty interesting things about this rig.  It was paneled with some 1980’s wood looking paneling, the ceiling was covered with wine-colored velour that was tufted with giant velvet buttons, had a rather odd sepia colored wallpaper and orange-red carpet.  It definitely brought back the 80’s and caused me to question my thoughts about taking it back to its original interior.  The answer would be “no, not a chance.

Because we were set up to spend a one-week spring break tour with Eisenhower State Park in March, we decided to just take the full week to live as we would full time.  This was where the “sudden” happened and we found ourselves in a whirlwind of change.  I packed everything we thought we would need from food to clothing, seating to entertainment, and It was one big mess, but we were packed and we headed off on, what I thought would be a two-hour drive.

It took me almost five hours to get to Eisenhower State Park from our apartment in Bedford, Texas because the side mirrors were not working.  I would get them into place only to have the wind from driving push them back to where all I could see myself.  This was not going work for my safety or anyone else’s.  I stopped to have Scott help me get the mirrors right and was off again. The driver side mirror acted correctly from that point, but the passenger mirror would not stay in place.  This meant I was either having to stop every time it did this, meaning I was stopping every five to ten minutes.  I ended up driving in the right lane at 55 mph extremely stressed because I could not see anything but my own reflection in the right side mirror. I know, stupid decision, but the girls and I made it safely to the parking lot of Eisenhower State Park.  I stopped, got out, shut the door when the driver’s side mirror crashed to the ground.  I was relieved to be there in one piece.

Once I was signed in at the office, I was given my spot and what a beautiful sight it was.  I was given a pull through which meant no backing in with the two useless mirrors.

This was the second weekend in March and spring break was in full gear, come to find out it was the first of three weeks called Spring Break and I was only supposed to do one week.  I contacted the Park Host Coordinator, Kate, and she was shocked to find I was scheduled for the full month of March!  Wait, we weren’t supposed to be full time Park Hosts until June 1!  Something was not right. Scott and I discussed what we were going to do and we decided we would give a 60-day notice to our apartment and move out.  Obviously, the park needed us and we thought we were ready for the move.

We took the last week in March and packed up the apartment.  Fortunately, I was able to go through all of my personal stuff over the previous six months and was down to what was going into the RV and two totes which sent into storage.  Scott had been busy working and was not as fortunate so most of his things went into storage along with the items we both were not ready to let go of.  It had been a rough time, but we were done and out of the apartment.  We had lived in a 2,000 square foot house, moved to a 547 square foot apartment, then lived in only the 14′ x 12′ bedroom plus the bathroom and kitchen, now we though we were ready to move into a 25 foot RV.  Our world was not only going to change, but it was going to change in a way we were not really prepared for.  They say March comes in like a lion and exits as a lamb, this would not be so for us and we had no clue what was getting ready to happen.

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Big Life With Tiny Steps

I am assuming that if you are following Scott and me you know about our plans to go on the road in a year or two.  However, I am sure you are finding yourself wondering why we decided to pursue this adventurous life.  Let me start at the beginning.

About a year and a half ago I started having these horrible dreams about my husband passing away and I was alone.  It was so extremely overwhelming and I found myself getting depressed.  I was very scared for myself and him.  I began, within myself, to  figure out what I would do if it happened and a thought occurred to me, “I’m not going to be alone, I have a family.”  Then another thought grabbed me; my family live in different places.  How was I to be with them all?

Being taken with the Tiny House Movement (THM), I decided I would build a tiny house and move it around the country to be with my parents, friends and each of my children for extended periods of time without getting in the way of their daily lives.  I love tiny houses because they have a tiny footprint, don’t cost much to live in, and they are just so freakin’ cute!  Once I made the plan, I began doing all the research.

Eventually I sat down and talked about these dreams with Scott.  It caused him to get back on track of taking care of himself.  I began to feel better since there was a plan and he understood a little bit more about my massive obsession with the tiny house.  Then something happened.

Scott started thinking about taking my plan and putting it into an RV and traveling.  I was not happy for while; I mean, he took my idea and not only stole it, but ripped it to shreds and rearranged it!  Rearranged it so that we could both be part of it!  How dare he do that to me!

Yeah, I know, silly.  I did get over it and it has become our life goal!  Not sure why I was so upset when he first started talking about it.  He has always wanted to travel and so have I; why not do this with the person you are spending your life with!

So, we took the jump and began to do more research. We have looked at hundreds of RVs: fifth wheels, C-Class, Super C-Class, motorhomes, travel vans, conversion vans, buses, and the list goes on and on. We have viewed videos on YouTube about school bus conversions, how to stealth camp, boonedocking, and engine braking.  Our research has been full of videos, internet, conversations, and shopping.  What we have found has been amazing and the looking has been fun.

When we finally decided that we were actually going to do this, we decided we needed to move from the 2,000 sq ft house into a small apartment to help us cut rent and other bills down.  We started our search and decided upon a 547 sq ft apartment. Not as small as an RV but it was a start in the right direction.  We began the purge by doing online garage sales, three actual garage sales, putting things on Craigslist, eBay, and on our personal Facebook accounts.  When we went to moved out of the house, we only moved a quarter of what we moved in with.

So, in this tiny apartment we have our two chairs, three book shelves, a TV cabinet, a small table, desk chair, two captain beds, two nightstands, the piano, two shelf/end tables and two foldable shelves.  That’s it.  There is of course books, embroidery stuff, his music stuff, ect….  but not as much as we had in the house.  We did have to rent a 20×20 storage unit to hold what we just didn’t have time to sort and purge because of attachment issues, but that is being dealt with this weekend. The goal is to get that 20×20 down to a 5×5 and only keep our camping gear stored.  Everything else in the 20×20 will be thrown away, donated, sold or in our apartment.

I know, I know, that is still a lot of stuff that won’t fit in an RV.  Baby steps man. We plan to take the next year and sort out what we will and won’t take with us when we finally get into one, but for now we only have to fit in this apartment.

Not only will we get down to an RV-sized pile of stuff, but we are taking the next year to force ourselves to become more disciplined with our money and our time.  One of the things we noticed was that we were spending our money on going out to eat and bills; bills we made for ourselves.  We are sitting down and re-watching the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University videos and working on our budget.  Before we can get on the road, we have to learn how to manage our money correctly.  This also entails figuring out where our money is going to come from once we get on road but that is another long post.

“Wait!”  I hear you screaming, “What about that tiny house?!”

Yes, what about the tiny house.  I have been trying to figure out how to make that our road worthy home, but I fear it is not something that will happen for us, just yet.  You see, tiny homes are meant to be in one place.  They are extremely heavy and built to be a house, not a traveling house.  These were never meant to be trailers or RVs, they are on wheels because of the political side of the Tiny House Movement.

Across the United States people feel as if they have to live in the biggest home possible because there are housing codes created to make money for the housing industry.  Instead of allowing people to decide what is best for themselves, we have politicians who have told us what size everything must be in our homes.  Some of this is good and it keeps people safe, but most of it is useless and only benefits the businesses and politicians who decided it must be a specific way.

The Tiny House Movement is about taking one’s life back, getting rid of the things that hold us captive and not allowing us to have a life free of huge debt.  I’m not saying tiny homes are cheap and the answer for everyone; I am saying it is one of the ways people have decided to enable themselves to own a roof over their heads and still be able to afford to do other things and have a life.

I have struggled with this because I wanted to be part of the Tiny House Movement for a long time, but I have been told I cannot be part of that movement if I move into an RV.  The reasons are mainly things like a moving RV isn’t ECO friendly, they do not use sustainable products in the building, ect…; however, I say it can be just as responsible as the THM.  First you purchase a used RV, do not buy a new one.  Secondly, instead of plugging into the grid, you use as much solar and wind power as possible.  Third, you stay in places for a longer periods of time enabling you to see, do and meet many more adventures. There are other reasons, but I won’t bore you with the long list.

So, there you have it, here is what we are doing.  We want to be a part of this country, not just viewers of what is going on in our country.  Over the next year we will be working on our habits, working to purge the unneeded,  working to save money to start our own movement – a MOVEMENT to live life.

Ren

An Introduction and An Update

You might not realize it but Stitchntravel is actually the project of two people, Ren who you have already heard from, and Scott. That’s me.

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My primary interests are history, science, woodworking and music. For the last couple of years I have been teaching myself to play the guitar and getting involved in the traditional music scene in Dallas and Fort Worth, and of course the Texas States Parks Project.

If you read this blog then you know that Ren and I have set ourselves a goal to visit all of the State and National Parks in Texas over the next couple of years.

In the last two months we have taken a short break on that project in order to make some progress toward a longer term goal. We want to move into an RV and travel the country.

As a first step we have sold, given away, or thrown away most of our stuff, and moved from a large house into a much smaller apartment. This has been a time consuming, and for me at least, an emotional experience. I can become very attached to my possessions, and it is sometimes hard to let go. I am amazed at how much unnecessary stuff I have accumulated over a lifetime, and how much of it I have moved from house to house without ever really using. While it was hard letting go of things that once held meaning for me, (the books were the hardest), it is also very freeing. It also made moving considerably easier.

As we are settling into the new apartment, and finding places for everything, it is becoming clear that we have not yet gotten rid of enough stuff. We will be spending the next few weeks paring our possessions down to the minimum amount of stuff we actually need and use.

In addition to getting rid of unnecessary stuff we are also breaking away from old habits and developing new ones that will be more suitable to the life we want to be living in a few years. We got rid of cable TV a few years ago, and substituted with online entertainment, which in many ways consumed far more of our time. We could always turn on the TV and find something we really wanted to watch, and all too frequently we did. Once we move into an RV we will have to rely on our cellular plan and public WiFi for our internet access, so we made the decision to make that transition now. We use Verizon for our internet access because they have the best coverage area and network speeds. They do not however have unlimited data plans. We no longer have the “luxury” of binge watching entire series on Amazon or surfing YouTube all night. We’ve also had to cut back on the amount of time we spend on social media. This has given us more time to focus on other things we want to do, as well as letting us focus on them with fewer distractions. We both feel like we are getting more done.

I firmly believe that both of these changes are for the better, and will help us toward our long term goals. Neither of these changes has been easy, and neither is complete yet. We will be spending the next few weeks clearing out more stuff and figuring out just how much we can live without.

I hope that by the end of April we can get back to discovering the natural and historical treasures that Texas has to offer, and sharing those discoveries with our readers.  Which I imagine will be more interesting for most of you than the personal posts we have been doing these last few weeks.

Scott

Welcome to the Apartment!

Well, Scott and I are in the 547 sq ft apartment and I think it will work out nicely.  Because of a few things we decided to change furniture wise, we are not crowded at all.  We have a new set of captain beds with dressers underneath, a Poang chair and stool, no dining table & chairs, and traded giant small-kitchen appliances for smaller ones. The beds I think are the best change.  Because the “dressers” are under the sleeping area and there is additional storage underneath as well, the bedroom area isn’t as cramped as it would have been with the two dressers we had.  Well, once we get some things unpacked.

The “unpacking”.  That should be a title of a horror flick for sure.  I can’t find anything and when I do, I have no idea where I am going to put it.  I hadn’t realized just how much kitchen stuff I had taken with us; this does include food.  The month before we moved we pretty much ate out of our freezer and pantry, but it just wasn’t enough.  I have searched the pantry and taken out anything there is a duplicate, we don’t eat, or will never eat and made sure it is unopened.  I will be delivering two trash bags worth of food to one of the food pantries in the DFW area.  There is, however, still not enough space.

The small appliances we brought are huge in this small room of food preparation.  I had sold my large food processor for a much smaller one, passed one of the two large crock pots to someone else, sold the large blender and mixer.  We did keep the slow pressure cooker and Foreman Grill, but I foresee those going away when we move into an RV.  They do make smaller Foreman Grills, right?

Since there is no shelf space, we have kept one of the bookshelves from the house.  It fits rather well in the walk space leading to the kitchen giving the trash can a very nice space to sit without being in the way.  The cabinets are rather strange actually.  You have your underneath cabinets with a half shelf  towards the back.  These work rather well for the dog food container, large pot and the pressure cooker, but it makes it difficult to get to anything else we want to store in there.  Then you have this:

The upper cabinets above the sink are tiny and very high on the wall.  There are two cabinets on either side, one other tiny set of shelves and a decent sized set of shelves.  Unfortunately there is this empty space above the sink.  I have been in apartments with this type of design but they were not as HUGE as this one.  I know something huge in this apartment is rather humorous.  We actually decided to shop Ikea again in a month or so and get some type of wall storage where we can store our few dishes and flatware.  Something like this:

I think we will also find an interesting way to store our spices so we can put them above the above rack system.  We have discussed the magnetic one and a plain old-fashioned rack, but just haven’t figured it out yet.  Any thoughts?  Ideas?

While we are unpacking, we are realizing we had not purged enough. I can’t believe how much stuff we still have.  We have to leave everything in the storage unit until we get everything in the apartment put away, but there is just not going to be enough room for it all.  I am, to say the least, really shocked.  I honestly thought we had purged enough; more than enough actually.  I think I was living in Wonderland.  So, we are purging again.  This time it’s gonna really hurt.

Time to go work on the apartment.
Ren

The Squash, the Tiny Move and the Blow Out

Well, it has been a very interesting March.  Yes, interesting indeed.

I was not able to make my First Quarter Embroidery goals.  However, I did get quite a bit done on the Squash Seed Cross Stitch.  As you can see, I have managed to complete the first portion. I will be starting the second part (the lower right corner) tomorrow morning while I am sitting down – no packing.

Another goal will be completed as of this Saturday; we will be making the move to the small apartment.  As you know we are moving from a 2,000 square foot house to a 547 square foot apartment to help us prepare for an RV in a year or two.  That is happening tomorrow, Saturday the 28.  I can’t actually believe it is finally here.  I can honestly say I am not completely ready but yet so very, very ready.

We had two garage sales and plenty of CraigsList get rid of’s during the month of March enabling us to purchase Scott a new laptop to replace the desktop enabling him to not move the giant corner desk.  The money we made also helped us get captain beds for each of us so we did not have to have dressers taking up what little space we were going to have.  This will help keep the bedroom less crowded for sure. Two beds?  Yes, I hear you asking why we got two beds instead of one. We both prefer to have different types of mattresses (I’m all about cushy and snuggling in while Scott wants a bed of boards) causing the purchase of just one mattress to be very difficult.  This system is working well for us.  We have our own set of drawers, additional storage space, and comfort for each of us.  It was the perfect solution for such a small space.

I was able to move my recliner to another home and get something a little more compact and more me.  We went to Ikea and purchased one the Pello chairs and footstools.  I am actually loving it.  With the recliner my back was hurting because of the way I prefer to sit and in order to get my feet elevated I had to recline backwards.  I prefer to sit up most of the time.  Not only is it more comfortable for me, but I am able to use my embroidery floor stand better.  It was rather awkward with the recliner, but with this new chair I am able to bring it right where I need it.  I figure once we get settled in I will take some fabric I purchased from Ikea a year ago and make some Ren-style covers for the cushions.

Because we are downsizing so drastically we are finding ourselves with only a few items of furniture to move and 80% less of household items (or junk) to move this time around.  I was stunned to see just how much we were able to get rid of.  Granted, there is so much more to go through, but we will be dealing with that over the month of April.  We just ran out of time.  Fortunately the items that did not sell at the garage sale or on CraigsList are going to be going to a donation group later this morning.  We have so much stuff they were more than willing to pick it up.  This helps so much.  Bye-bye Labyrinth Bag Lady!

As for the blow out, it probably isn’t what you are thinking.  Unfortunately while packing for this move, I picked up a box that was way too heavy and blew out my right knee.  I apparently have a horizontal oblique tear in the medial meniscus.  This is definitely not something we needed right now to happen and I won’t know about surgery until Monday.  I am not able to help with much of the move at all and that leaves everything up to Scott.  He has been such a trooper though picking up where I am having to stop.  Thankfully we have some pretty amazing friends who are willing to jump in and help us with the packing I have left and the moving on Saturday morning.

I am hoping to take some photos of the new place and our furniture set up once we get situated.  So, see you soon and live an adventure today.

Ren