Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Five days and counting…

Well with the punch list updated and days dwindling (down to 5 days) we are starting to see a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel. I had the base plate installed on the CRV and the motorhome was dropped off today for repairs to the refrigerator. They also serviced the generator and checked out all the plumbing after all of our recent freezes.  The only plumbing casualty was the kitchen faucet (which may have already been damaged from before).  So they will fix everything and have it ready for us on Friday.

The final garage sale is on Saturday so by Saturday evening we should have a nearly empty house. Finally!!! All that will be remaining in the house is what is to be moved into the motorhome by Tuesday. Planning to still hit the road by Wednesday.

With Sharon’s retirement party out of the way mine is next.  It will be on Thursday at one of my favorite local taverns named Fitzwillies. If you are ever in College Station, TX you need to go there and have a burger and fries or an order of extra crispy wings along with a nice ice cold beverage. Tell Shelby John Z. sent you…

Couple of recent nibbles on the house and we hope to have an offer before we leave… if not a realtor will take over the endeavor for us.  Selling the car is another story we hope to resolve soon. And tonight I will work my last college basketball game as an NCAA statistician as the home town Texas A&M Aggies take on the Oklahoma Sooners.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

What a crazy life we have now…

So with 8 (EIGHT) days to go, our lives are crazy (CRAAAAZZZYYY) right now!!! I have had some of you ask do we have to leave the day we planned to leave… the answer is no… but we still plan to leave March 2nd : )

living room 2So what has been going on in our crazy lives… Today was a hectic day to say the least. It started for me at the crack of dawn when I first installed the new hitch on the CRV that will support our bicycle rack and then I  started to disassemble some furniture that my son’s family was going to take home with them. Next I made some chorizo and egg tacos for breakfast for them all.. My son and his family were visiting to attend my bride’s surprise retirement party.

The party was held at a really fine local restaurant and it was fun seeing all the people we hadn’t seen in some time. Our son and his family got to come up and enjoy the festivities but our daughter was playing softball at Auburn, Alabama this day. It was really great to hear all the wonderful things that were said about my bride by her current and past co-workers… it brought a tear to the eye now and then. It was a bit eerie in that at times I felt like I was attending her funeral hearing all the great things she had done… : )

afterBut what made the day hectic was that not only was my son taking a lot of furniture home with him for his family to enjoy… but much of the rest of our furniture had been sold and was being picked up this day as well. So by the time the sun was setting we realized we had nearly no furniture left in our house… so where were we going to sit???

Then I had an epiphany… we bought chairs for the motorhome… so until we leave we are camping in our house until the time comes to go…

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Craigslist–getting rid of the final stuff…

100_4166Merikay was recently lamenting about selling her stuff on the likes of EBay and Craigslist so I thought I would share some of our experiences.  We sold a few items on EBay but they were specialty items such as vintage camera bodies and lenses.  As Merikay said, once we researched the prices and bids on EBay for items similar to what we had we decided we would try craigslist for selling the rest of the stuff.

harmon kCraigslist is the best place to sell items that you want to get a fair price for.  Now the way we started using Craigslist was to place only the items we wanted to get rid of early on the web at a fair and reasonable price. We started doing this nearly a year in advance of our planned departure.  We would then repost the item frequently to generate interest. Reposting brings the item to the top of the list making it more likely to be seen.

rockerAs the time started getting closer to our departure (Yikes only 10 more days!) we had sold most of the items we really didn’t need but had (why we had these items we don’t know?). And in the last few months the remaining furniture and larger everyday items were listed. Again these items were posted at a fair and reasonable value and many of them sold leaving us with only a few less desirable or wanted items.

The strategy we used to get rid of the lesser desirable items has been to decrease our asking price bit by bit on each reposting and we have been able to sell nearly all the larger items we have listed.  Only a few remaining items are left and if they don’t sell this week they will be added to our one last garage sale next weekend.

antique bedroom set 3Now another strategy I used just recently (and should have tried earlier) was to post items on Craigslist in other large cities nearby. I have been trying to sell the car for a long time with very little interest but I posted it to the Houston Craigslist (about 100 miles away) and had four inquiries on the car yesterday with a fellow driving over in the morning to look at it.  Why I didn’t think of this sooner is beyond me but I pass this on to you so you can learn from my mistakes.

You see the key here is to get rid of all your unneeded stuff but you still need to feel as if you were being fairly compensated. We all know you can sell everything in a garage sale but only for pennies on living room 2the dollar and let’s be real, garage sales are a pain in the a$*#. One final advantage of selling items on Criagslist that are sentimental to you or that you have a personal attachment to is that you get to meet the buyer and tell your story about the item. I found that for the most part the buyers of these items seemed as if they would truly care for them.  It is nice to know the antiques we sold are going to good people who will enjoy them.  I this also helps one adjust to the separation anxiety and makes it easier to be able to let go of these types of items…

Photos are some of the many items we sold on craigslist.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Odds and ends…

One of the new shifters for my wife's bicycle came it today as well as the Roadmaster base plate for our Honda CRV.  I am still waiting for the 2 inch hitch and the bicycle rack I ordered to come in.  Nothing like cutting it close…

We have had some serious lookers at the house and the car but no buyers yet so it is starting to look like we will have to leave before they are sold. Sigh…

The worse part is we haven’t heard from the RV Station people about whether or not our Norcold part has arrived.  We can’t go anywhere without a refrigerator.  Still need to have the generator serviced and we still need to fill up the propane and the diesel tank as well as check out the plumbing after all the freezes.

On a brighter note we did start moving some of our “keeper” stuff into the rig and it is starting to feel like it is our home… and sooner or later it will be…

I better start planning our route to North Carolina soon…

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stuck in time…

antique bedroom set 2We still have so much to do it is crazzzzzy!!! But until we get the base plate for our CRV in the mail and our norcold frigerator recall parts in the mail we are kind of stuck in time… To compound things the place we have stored our RV has no water yet since their pipes froze so we can’t even checkout the plumbing system after all the hard freezes around here. So it looks like I may be doing some plumbing real soon.

To top things off we need to have the generator serviced before heading out but plan to do that when the refrigerator china cabgets serviced for the recall. We still have several antiques that need to be sold as well and time is seemingly running out.  On the brighter side we may have a buyer for our 2007 Toyota Camry. We should know in the next day or so. Still don’t have the house sold yet but we do have a couple of realtors lined up that we will let sell it for us after we leave.

Quite a stressful time tying up all the loose ends but we know that this time too will pass and a much more relaxing future is in store for us. See you on the road soon…100_4000

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Less than 20 days… Yikes!

100_4147Well I noticed today that we are winding down our working life and about to hit our retirement date. With all the unusually cold weather we haven’t been able to get a lot done.  The rig has been cleaned inside and out and is seemingly ready for her first trip. However, we have a few key things that must be done before we can leave.

I put up a punch list a few days ago and have been updating it as I get things done or as I realize something else that needs to be done. One thing not on the list that absolutely has to be done before we leave is to have the refrigerator serviced. Even though I asked the previous owner if he had taken care of the Norcold recall and he said yes… he didn’t.  I called Norcold with all the necessary info and they said it had not been serviced.  So now100_4152 we have to wait till the part arrives (sometime next week it will be shipped) and have it installed.  We decided we will need a refrigerator before we leave :)

Another key item to get done is the baseplate on our toad.  It has been ordered and should arrive next week.  I have already spoken with a mechanic who said he would install it. Also, we have started selling 100_4151our bigger items on craigslist. Our antique dining room set sold, along with an antique rocker, an antique sideboard, an outdoor wicker furniture set, my 42 inch flat screen TV :( and a few other items.  The last really big item that we must sell is our early 1900 English three piece bedroom set. Some of our keeper stuff has even been loaded into the RV.

We might make it down to the Houston RV show on Saturday since we can’t make an outing in the RV yet. We still have much to do and the clock is ticking…

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting to know her…

100_4142Today was a beautiful day considering how crappy the last few frigid days have been… we were dying to get out to the new rig (to us) and get to know her better.  We know there is so much to learn.

So we packed up the car with all the items we thought might be too big to store in the motorhome along with some items we knew we had to have but that were more seasonal in nature, such as flippers and snorkel gear, floats, fishing gear etc… Stuff we knew were not going to need in the next three weeks.

100_4144We also packed all the cleaning stuff such as a vacuum cleaner, a carpet shampooer, cleaning supplies and the likes… to get her looking real spiffy for her first date. After 6 hours she was ready for the prom… As a lot of people have been asking to see some inside photos but 100_4146we had wanted to wait till she got a good cleaning which she did so enjoy the pictures of the interior.

I present to you our girl… yet to be named because she needs to earn it and we haven’t even gotten to really know her yet. Today I spent a lot of time getting to know her a bit while I was cleaning… I played with every switch I could. However, with the cold weather my friends barn lost his plumbing so we couldn't turn on water to see how well she wintered the storm. We were however able to tinker around a bit and feel more comfortable with her controls…

100_4150Our time will come when we go out on a date and really get to know each other better… I just hope the weather will cooperate so it can happen before we hit the road for good! I will continue to edit my punch list blog to show our progress in the coming weeks…

Friday, February 4, 2011

Back to the punch list what is left?

A while back we made a punch list and now that there is less than a month before we take off it is time for to revisit it to see how we are doing and tweak it where necessary.  Below is our current punch list for now:

  1. continue to opt out of paper mailers and bills where possible
  2. stop all magazine subscriptions
  3. switch to Verizon from our current AT&T provider will do after we leave
  4. determine which TV network to use (DISH vs Direct TV) will do after we leave
  5. determine which internet solution works best for us will do after we leave
  6. sign up for select RV clubs signed up for Escapees and passport America
  7. determine a mail forwarding solution (Escapees most likely)
  8. sell the house (set a closing date) – select a realtor
  9. buy an RV (determine where it will be if we close earlier than our departure date)
  10. sell all the stuff a future home buyer doesn't want Very few pieces left
  11. sell all the remaining stuff that won't fit into our RV Garage Sale for next weekend
  12. solve the insurance issue for our home on wheels (American National most likely)   Overland Insurance was selected.
  13. buy a tow vehicle
  14. sell both our current vehiclestruck sold - sell the car
  15. insure the new toad
  16. find a towing solution for the toad  get baseplate on toad
  17. learn to drive the RV
  18. take a shakedown trip not going to happen
  19. finish any mods or repairs necessary before we leave Appt with shop on Wednesday
  20. determine which maps/books we need for traveling
  21. plan our first route Started…
  22. retire from our jobs :) :) :)
  23. transfer our current retirement account to a vanguard account will do after we leave
  24. say our goodbyes

Additions to our punch list:

  1. Go to last doctor visit
  2. Go to last dental visit
  3. Go to last optical visit  Get new glasses
  4. get a bike rack for the bicycles
  5. fix the shifters on the brides bike Ordered the shifters today

Day before we leave punch list:

  1. Cancel auto insurance on car that sold
  2. Cancel parking for work
  3. turn in work keys
  4. find the 10 inch draw bar for a 2 inch hitch to attach bike rack
  5. return bike rack part I thought I needed :)
  6. forward work email to new address
  7. turn in change of address to post office
  8. sign and fax our motorhome insurance form
  9. cancel our internet/tv service and return cable box and remote
  10. make last minute deposits of checks from sold items
  11. pack all the remaining items into the motorhome
  12. final cleanup of the house
  13. leave garage door openers in house
  14. pack up the toad
  15. on last night in house do last load of laundry
  16. finish plotting route
  17. morning of departure is appointment with mechanic to wire brake lights for toad

Still a lot remaining and we only have 24 days to get it done.  Looks like we won’t sell our house before we leave so we will turn it over to a realtor and let them sell it for us.  Also, we are thinking about having an auctioneer sell all of our remaining stuff in a living estate sale so we are starting to contact some…

We were hoping to be playing with the motorhome but with all this subfreezing weather and 1-3 inches of snow forecast tonight all I have had time to do is come up to speed with winterizing a motorhome…

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Her place for now…

100_4093Well yesterday I decided that with the cold weather moving in it was time to move her again to a temporary place at a very good friend of ours. But… that meant I had to face the cul de sac… YIKES!

Well as bad luck would have it there were still two cars parked on the out side edge of the cul de sac and so I started her up and up the hill I went.  I went further past around the first car than I felt comfortable and turned hard right until I passed the car – so far so good.  Then a sharp left making sure the ass-end wouldn’t hit the car I passed as I eased up a driveway about 10 feet and stopped and then pushed “R” and I eased back turning as I went.  One car in front of me I pushed “D” and a hard left turned cleared the car and I had made a successful three point turn around in the cul de sac WOOOHOOO!! So back to the house (but now pointed in the right direction) till my bride can help me move her to her temporary place for about a week.

100_4100The lovely lady in my life calls and follows me as I drive the RV to her new spot.  The drive there was uneventful till we got to the barn she was to park beside. Down this narrow road there was a sharp right hand turn between two fence posts not very far apart. To complicate matters the road between the posts crossed a gully with ditches on each side… YIKES again!

Well with good directions from the bride and our good friend we eased our way in and parked beside our friends barn.  Our friend use to be our daughters' 14 and under fast pitch softball coach and we have stayed connected with him all these years and here we are now parked beside his barn… Thanks David!

We will use this opportunity to get to know her now that she is on level ground and has all her slides out… too bad it is about to get real cold here soon… time to learn about winterizing!