Monday, June 25, 2007

Care Center..

Since there's only 39 days left till I leave my job, people have been asking me "Where to first ?" Our first trip will be to Livingston, Texas, about 65 miles north of Houston. We have signed up for a 2 month volunteer assignment at the CARE (Continued Assistance for Retired Escapees)Center there. This is a facility where people who are full timers like we are (live all the time in their RV), might need to come off the road for a period of time due to injury, sickness, need for surgery or have a terminal illness. These people do not want, for one reason or another, to go into a nursing home but want to stay in their "home"....their RV. This facility allows them to park their RV there and for $800/month, they get their site, have their meals provided to them by volunteers, cleaning and errands done for them, take them to appointments, provide recreational activities for them, etc. There are a few staff members but most are volunteers (like us). For people who have Alzheimer's, there is a day care program to give some relief to care givers.
So, we want to help out here and for eight weeks Linda will be doing her LPN stuff and I will be doing gardening, cooking or whatever else they need me to do. Last we talked to them, they only schedule us for part time hours so I'm hoping to find something else in the area that we can help out with (help on Habitat build or work at animal rescue shelter, etc.) I don't like to be bored and that means keeping busy. To read more about this great facility, click here
Get involved ! You never know how great you have it until you help others less fortunate.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Gizmos and Gadgets

For over a year and a half I’ve been following the RV discussion lists and they are such a wealth of information on all types of topics. There is information for the wannabe RV’er to financial information (investing tips) to maintenance and repair info. On the Excel Owner forum I’ve read about numerous “gizmos and gadgets” that other RV’ers have recommended. I thought that most of these musings have been by guys who love to roam the RV aisle at Walmart or their local Lowes in search of a new tool or toy that they felt they couldn’t live without for their RV. Well, they’ve made a believer out of me. One of the things that has come up on the discussion lists was to buy a Watts pressure regulator instead of the ones you find at Walmart. They cost $38 at Lowes vs. $5 for the blue ones at Walmart. Well worth the money ! The day of a forceful shower has returned!.....Before, it had gotten to the point where although water was coming out the shower head, there wasn’t enough pressure and it was causing it to dribble out of the backflow area. What a difference in pressure this new device makes. The Watts regulator is pre-set at 50 psi and is made of brass with cleanable screen, etc.
Other things worth having on hand that you’ll need for your RV: screw in stakes to tie down your awning (keeps you from experiencing a run away awning if the wind should come up), quick connectors for your water supply…. Makes it a snap to hook up your water supply.
For inside the RV we bought a shoe caddy that conceals all of our shoes and fits just inside the door. When you open it, the door drops down and reveals 3 rows of shelving where you put your shoes. A great $30 investment to organize your shoes and to keep them handy. For the closet area where the washer/dryer would go, we opted to use this as more storage and not buy a washer/dryer. We bought a 5 drawer storage unit at Lowes which is great for storing a variety of food supplies. We use one drawer for snacks, one for baking supplies, one for saran, Ziploc bags,etc, one for canned goods and the last one for misc items. It cost about $60 for the unit, optional plastic lid (that goes on top to make a useable surface)and casters. This was another worthwhile investment and lets us have ample room for food supplies.
Another couple items for inside the RV that we made was a photo gallery for the bedroom TV area. Over the opening where a TV would normally slide in, I put a large photo frame that has the Plexiglas cover that slides over a box frame. I had to cut it down to fit the area and found a damaged one at A.C Moore for $3 and taped and cut it using my circular saw. I then used industrial Velcro with 3 points of attachment so that it is “hinged”. This allowed us to store items behind the photo collage with easy access. It also gave us more room to display pictures of our kids and grandkids.
In the kitchen area, I wanted to get rid of the butcher block knife holder (and not clutter up the countertop) so I created a knife holder that I secured inside a cabinet door. I took some rigid foam board and cut it to fit within the cupboard door panel. This holds all the knives that we use, except for the big bread knife (was too long to fit down through the foam board). For this one, I made a soft sheath out of double bubble insulation that I can slide the knife into and then we store the knife under the solid surface counter that goes over the 3 burner range. It’s concealed but handy for when we need to slice up bread.

Friday, June 8, 2007


What is it that matters most in our lives and makes life worth living ? It’s relationships….our connection to others that develops us as human beings and broadens our souls experience of the world. It’s not the day to day living or working at our jobs that we were put here for.
We had our going away party this weekend for friends, family and co-workers. People with whom we’ve developed a relationship with, whether it be over a period of a few months or many years. It meant a lot to us that these friends and family would share this transition with us and come to the party.
One of the persons that I was most fearful to tell of our new adventure was my 81 year old mother. I know how she is about “stability” and that this is a major life change for me. When I did finally muster up the courage to tell her, she was so cool about it and said, “I’ve always allowed you kids to make your own decisions about jobs and figured if you ever fell flat on your faces, that you’d pull yourself up and figure it out.” Wow….that was great wisdom. But what else should I have expected from my mom….she has been my mentor and role model my whole life. My mom came to our party, as did many of my family members. A friend we’ve known for a short time drove 4 hours to spend the weekend with us and we had a great time.
In spite of a nomad existence, we’ve heard that the friendships we’ll make on the road are those of substance and ones that last. Will the “friends” that we’re leaving behind stay in touch or in a matter of a few months, will they forget about us ? Relationships are important to Linda and I so we will work to maintain those relationships but it’s a two way street. If those “connections” are not nurtured, they will not survive.