Not all who wander are lost.

Posts in category Preparing for our new journey.

We’re Getting There!



Even though we’ve been preparing and planning this for what has seemed like forever,  its still tough to get my mind around all of this!  At this very time next week we’ll be waking up in a 5th wheel somewhere in Colorado.  Hopefully, it’s not snowing yet!

We spent part of Saturday helping Sadie get moved into her new place.  Every time she put something in the truck I wanted to take it out and pack it with the Colorado stuff and beg her to come with us. I had to keep telling myself that as much as I try to fight it, she is quickly becoming a grown woman capable of making her own decisions and taking care of herself.  Choosing to stay behind while the rest of her family moves could not have been an easy decision for her so I’m really trying to respect her decision.  We are comforted in knowing that she has lots of family here to help her if she needs it.  She also knows that all she has to do is say the word and we will find a spot for her whenever she’s ready.  No matter how many times I say these things to myself, its still going to be heart wrenching to leave her and its the one thing about this that I’m not looking forward to.

The rest of this week will involve getting the house completely empty and we’re getting there.  This weekend we found ourselves sleeping on a mattress on the floor, Sam no longer has a couch to sit on and play video games in the basement, and after today we won’t have a table to eat at.  As we watched Sadie, Sam, Heather, Reid, and AJ lug all of this stuff out of the house we were reminded of the many MANY times we had done this ourselves and were relieved that this time we get to leave the heavy lifting to the kids.  The nice thing about the 5th wheel is that it’s already furnished.  All we need to do is grab our clothes, dishes, and various other little things and we are set.  I still get to keep my spinning wheel, almost all of my fiber, and all that goes with it so that’s a huge plus!  So each day the house gets a little more empty and the camper a little more weighed down.  We are so thankful that Cindy and Jeff allowed us to store the 5th wheel in their driveway for a couple weeks.  Having it just a few blocks away has made it much easier to pack and get things ready throughout the last week.

We still have those little loose ends to tie up such as cancelling utilities and taking care of our change of address.  It’s crazy how many times you have to do that these days!  It used to be you filled out a little card at the post office and informed a few other people and you were done.  Now, its the USPS, the bank, Ebay, Paypal, Amazon, previous employers (in my case), iTunes,  Etsy, etc etc etc.  It’s endless!  Each day I think of one more place that we’ll need to go in and change our profiles.  Thank god we no longer have credit cards as that would have added even more to the mix!  Luckily, its all done over the internet these days.  Maybe we need to rethink our shopping habits?

Our plan is to leave Saturday early afternoon, drive about half way and then spend the night somewhere in Nebraska. Our temporary destination is Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland, CO.  With the price of renting a moving truck at over $500 (WITHOUT gas) we decided that we won’t be carrying any furniture out for Sam and Brooke as originally planned.  We decided that we can pick up a bed for Sam and a used couch for their place when we get there and still not hit the $500+ that we would have spent on a truck.  We’ll be using the camper as a moving truck for the rest of their stuff so we need to get there in time to get it set up and unload all of their stuff to take to Brooke’s before it gets dark.  The state and county parks only allow campers to stay a maximum of 14 consecutive days, then wait 16 days before returning to a park within their system.  We’re planning to stay through the holidays before heading to southern Texas for the rest of the winter so that means our first order of business will be to find somewhere that is open that will allow long term camping because we would prefer to not have to move every 14 days.  We’ve looked at a few privately owned places online so we’re hoping to drive around a bit and find somewhere we like when we get there.

Still lots to do, but we are in the homestretch now.  I’m sure emotions will be pretty close to the surface the rest of this week and we’re probably in for some interesting situations including our first long drive with the 5th wheel, but we are certain it will all be worth it.  We are looking forward to soon be done paying the house payment, utilities (which is our least favorite at over $400/month), property taxes, Mediacom (who just raised our internet prices by almost double!!!), and all of the other little bills that we pay each month to keep up the house.  We are ready for a hopefully more simple and fulfilling way of life.  We’re not sure what we’re going to run into or if we’ll even like it, but we’re about to find out.

RV Inspection & Repairs

After only staying one night in the RV and before going on our Florida bike trip we decide to store the RV at Webster City RV which is right off Hwy. 20 which was also right on the way home. We planned on storing it there until after our Florida trip. We figured while it was there it would also be a good time to have it inspected to make sure everything was going to be ok before heading to Colorado at the end of October. Inspection cost would be around $200 but we figured for $200 better safe than sorry. We knew everything worked because we used everything the night before so wasn’t expecting to have to many things wrong but didn’t know the last time it had been in for just a routine maintenance. About two days in to our bike trip I get an email from Kenny at Webster City RV sending me an estimate for all the things they had found that should be repaired. Repairs totaled just over $4500. We were like WHAT. At this point we were feeling like maybe the good price we got the RV at might not have been that great of a price after all. I got a hold of Kenny and told him we need to prioritize the repairs and what repairs could either be done myself or at a later date. After going through the list several time and talking it over we decide the most important was the bedroom slide. The bedroom slide floor was rotten and I knew this would be a job I did not want to tackle on my own.Photo Oct 12, 8 40 07 AMPhoto Oct 12, 8 40 57 AM

The slide repair was estimated to cost around $1800. We decide we would also do the wash and roof condition, and get the fresh water fill hose fixed. When everything was all said and done we were looking at around $2500 including the inspection cost. Called Kenny and said go ahead with these repairs. After a couple of days got another call from Kenny letting me know that the slide repair was finished and that the labor hours where about twice what he had quoted. The labor for the slide estimate was 12 hrs. Actual hours of labor was around 22. He told me he would stick to the labor estimate and not charge for the extra hours worked and said he would chalk it up to a learning experience. Next thing that he need to discuss was the fresh water fill host. He had estimate only an hour to fix. The service tech informed him the underbelly of the RV needed to be dropped to get to the fill hose and this added another 3 hours of labor. We decided this was more important to fix then the wash and condition so we removed that part and told them to go ahead with fresh water hose fix with the extra labor hours. Final email from Kenny, RV was done and total cost ended up at just below $2800. Even though I was not expecting $2800 in repairs when asking for an inspection I am glad all of this was found and repaired before we left. Most of everything else on the list we can do ourselves. The people at Webster City RV where very good to work with and did a great job on fixing the slide. It worked and looked great. Also since the RV was serviced and repair they did not charge us for storing.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

The offer was accepted, the closing and possession dates were set.  The house inspection and the appraisal was completed as well as the last minute termite inspection. Furnace and AC systems were evaluated and we fixed everything the buyer asked us to.  Everything was done.  We were days away from signing the final papers.  We never thought this one simple little text from our realtor would have been the start to another few stressful days that would be filled with complete uncertainty.20141002_165633

Oh. My. God.  What could this mean now?  Of course every possible situation ran through our heads.  Is there a delay in closing?  Do we need to make arrangements for yet another person to walk through our house?  Holy Crap!  Do we have TERMITES?!  We weren’t really prepared for this phone call.  After a stressful offer process for everyone involved, then weeks of bending over backwards letting countless people wander through our home while we walked our 4 dogs in the heat for hours,  the financing did not come through.  Wait..What?? It’s three days before closing!  What the heck does “pre approval” really mean then then if the buyer still needed to apply for financing?  I thought the pre approval letter from the bank meant the seller would feel confident in taking the house of the market while the buyer firmed up her financing and prepared to close the deal.  Well, in our case it meant that as long as you told truth on the preliminary application we will lend you some money and you can buy a house.  If you don’t, then you will end up really messing with the lives of a bunch of people that you haven’t even met yet! (words of advice..ALWAYS tell the truth on your loan application)

WORST NEWS EVER!!!  We spent 3 days in the car on our way back to Iowa stewing and worrying and feeling completely helpless.  All we could do was wait until we got home and see what our options were.  It was a long car ride to say the least.

We are just sick about all of it and of course we are upset that we need to change our plans yet again and we are now not sure what is going to happen.  We are also worried that it won’t sell now that its so late in the year.  We feel terrible for our realtor who had to call us while on vacation.  We know that had to be a tough phone call to make.  We are angry because the buyer wasn’t honest with the bank or us, and the buyer’s realtor knew about this a week prior and didn’t bother to tell anyone until our realtor called to find out what time the closing was.  Even though they are in default of the purchase agreement, we still have to wait for the buyer to sign off to cancel the sale..whatever that means.  So again we are at the mercy of this person as we try to get our listing active so we can get the place sold.  As angry as I get when I think about all this, I do feel a little sad for the buyer though.  I know she had invested her time and money into the transaction as well, and I’m sure she thought she’d be sitting by our fireplace watching movies by the end of October.     I’ve really been working on trying to be more  compassionate but its pretty difficult sometimes, especially when the outcome has had such a negative impact on my family and could have been avoided had she just chosen to just be honest.  People don’t always realize the ripple affect that can occur by one or two of their own small, seemingly meaningless actions.  I’m trying to remember that even though she wasn’t quite truthful she still has to be upset as well and she might not even have a place to go to live now.

So here we are, back at square 1.  It looks like we will be cleaning like mad people, trimming bushes, and trying to keep the place ready for last minute showings.  If you drive by, you’ll see that “For Sale” sign in the yard again which means we’ll be dragging our dogs around in the cold whenever someone wants to come take a look at the last minute.  The goal is to still be in Colorado by the end of October and maybe not living here while trying to sell will actually be easier.  At least the house will stay clean.   We’re hoping that its not too late in the year and that there is a family out there just waiting for a place just like this to call their home.  We know there is still plenty of time to move in and enjoy the holidays here so we just have to do what we can until the right people come along.  From the very beginning we knew there would be roadblocks along the way and we knew some might be pretty tough to get passed, but we will figure out a way around them.  We always do.   Until then, we’ll do our best to stay positive and keep doing what we can to move forward to the life that we imagine is waiting for us.  We know we will get there very soon we just have to get over this part first.  I find myself remembering one of my favorite quotes quite a bit lately.  I heard it in the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” but I know it’s been said by many others, one being John Lennon.  I don’t know who said it originally.  It always makes me smile a little.


Everything will be all right in the endif it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end. 

A house is a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff

Yesterday was another clearing house day but this time it was a trip to the Resource and Recovery Plant ( aka “the dump”)  With just two more days to work before we head to Florida we wanted to get as much taken care of as we could before the trip because once we return from that, we’ll have about 5 days to get everything out and cleaned up a bit for the new owners.  We also need to get Sadie’s things moved to her new place within that time frame as well so its becoming clear that we are running out of time very quickly! Ben had come for a visit the prior weekend and he drives a big pick up, and is a bit of a pack rat, so he loaded his truck up with more stuff and took most of it home with him.  We were happy to see that it would get some use but we still had plenty to deal with.  There were a few of those moments where we had a tough time just discarding something that we thought we had put so much effort in to looking for and picking out, but we’re finally starting to get over our weird attachment to our stuff.  It’s very liberating to know that we will no longer be able to wander through the stores mindlessly tossing things into the cart that we THINK we need, but will soon sit abandoned in a cupboard somewhere only to come across it later and wonder what the heck we bought that thing for in the first place??  We loaded up the truck and took a trip to throw our stuff over the wall along with the rest of the city’s neglected purchases and I felt a little guilty as we contributed to the monstrous amounts of waste getting tossed aside each day filling our landfills.  Knowing that we will no longer be able to do that quite as much was a little comforting at least.  We did throw a couple things on the curb that were gone by the end of the day so at least a few things were saved, and others will get some use out of it.  That huge old kitchen table had some great (and sometimes very STRANGE)  family discussions around it so hopefully the woman that rescued it from the curb will create some great memories around it as well.

The Garage Sale

Plan A of our preparation was to start clearing out the house which obviously meant one thing: garage sale.  If you’ve never had one of these, they are a LOT of work!  We spent the majority of the week in the garage cleaning, tagging, displaying, and getting everything out for sale.  Trying to decide what part of our life to keep, toss, donate, and sell was a bit overwhelming.  Its one thing to get rid of the stuff we didn’t need anymore, its an entirely different feeling trying to get rid of almost ALL of it.  “What am I supposed to do with Brooke’s Brownie vest with all the little patches and pins?” or “I can’t throw away Sams little baseball glove” went through our minds constantly.  We had to keep reminding ourselves that all of this stuff didn’t fit into our new lifestyle any more, it all must go!  They were just things and not having that old glove certainly didn’t alter the memories associated with it.   We chose to have the sale Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.  After rushing around Friday to place signs, we got back about 20 min before it was time to open the doors.  We already had a line of cars waiting for us and yelling “Can we come in yet?” out of their car windows. We were not ready at ALL but let them come in anyway.     These Ames garage salers are some savvy shoppers!  One of our first sales was a gentleman who wanted to pay $20 for the extension ladder that had a whopping price tag of $30 on it.  His entire plan of attack was to simply add another “Please” at the end of each offer.  We couldn’t take it anymore so Jason caved and after about 17 “Please’s” the man got a $20 ladder!  It was interesting watching people go through our stuff.  Someone would come in and grab something and pay full price and be completely happy with that little part of our lives.  Another would walk in and grab something and offer a little less than what was tagged which maybe meant “I like this part of your life, but just not very much.”  Or the other one that would walk in and walk right out as if to say “I don’t really like any part of your lives at all”  Obviously that is probably not what people are indirectly saying, but it was a little hard to not put a personal spin on things as people are sifting though and grabbing or tossing your stuff aside.  Overall though, the weather was beautiful and the people were a lot of fun!  We had a steady stream of people both days and did quite well so it was a success.  We were able to put the proceeds of the sale towards the purchase of the big huge truck we needed to pull the camper.  Most of our stuff found new homes and will get to become a part of another person’s life and we kind of liked that idea.

First Time 5th Wheelers

This weekend we picked up our new 5th wheel. It is a 2002 Keystone Montana. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I have never pulled a 5th wheel or a trailer this big (32ft.). The RV was up at Twin Lakes just north of Rockwell City, IA.We spent Friday night in it and figured out how everything worked. First thing was the furnace. Temps that night got down to upper 30’s (to cold for early Sept.). I figured the furnace would have a pilot light just like the one in my house but finally found out it does not. Everything is electric including the hot water. This is very nice, turn on LP and adjust thermostat and that’s it. Next morning was the start of several new experiences: closing up the RV and getting it ready for travel, connect RV to truck, pulling RV, and dumping tanks (not as bad as I thought but don’t forget rubber cloves). Connecting RV to truck was pretty easy. I did watch several videos on YouTube, which helped a lot. Finally we were off on the road pulling this big RV. When we first started I was having a slight panic attack, but after about 10-15 minutes it was not too bad. The truck pulled well! It was a bit bouncy but I think this was just a rough road. We pulled it about 30-40 miles and dropped it off at Webster City RV to get serviced and will be picking it backup in Oct when we will be heading west.