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I’m Finally ‘Successful’

July 14, 2014

It’s happened! I’ve finally achieved my childhood ideals of success!

I grew up poor. Not can’t-afford-a-meal-poor or living-on-the-street-poor, but my idea of poor.We lived in a small house in a  small town. It was a  hot dogs and mac n cheese and one slightly-less-used car every 10 years type of existence. McDonald’s on Friday night was a treat, and movie theaters and the mall were almost unheard of. My Mom stayed home to raise my sister and I, and my Dad had his own business and worked harder than anyone I know to provide for us. The funny thing about small towns is that sheep ranchers are willing to pay their bill before the plumber leaves their house, but the doctors and lawyers need 3 statements and 6 months to pay up. That can stress a family’s finances. But I digress.

When I was young I started gathering ideas for what things made someone really successful. Things like brand-new cars and mansions were not on that list. No, my mind couldn’t fathom stuff like that. Being married and having a house and kids were just normal, so those weren’t on the list either. Everyone I knew had two parents and a happy existence, so that was simply a norm, as well. There were three things that really stuck in my mind as things that only well-0ff people had. First was a pair Oakley sunglasses. $150 for sunglasses? That was just unreasonable. The most expensive sunglasses we ever got were about $15 and those were high-end! Oakleys were a true status symbol. The next thing on that list was a boat. My Grandfather had canoes, he built and raced them, so that was pretty normal. But I only got to ride on a power-boat once, and even that was a little pontoon boat that my neighbor took us out on for a special occasion once. Boats were cool and only successful, cool people had them. The third thing on my list – a pool. Oh, yeah. I only ever got to swim in a pool at my neighbors’ across the street a couple of times. They were well-off. Their Dad owned a store and they always had newer cars. The YMCA had a pool, but that was like $5 a person! Unheard of. Other than that, there was the lake to swim in. Only really successful people had their own pool.

My husband is a mechanic at a motorsports shop. I get a nice discount on my Oakleys. I own 2 pairs right now, and that’s not counting my FlakJackets that disappeared last year. Oakleys are great.
A few years ago, through several instances of good deals and trading, we got a boat. It’s an ’87 SeaRay and I absolutely love it.
This week we achieved the final marker of success. Yes, we got a pool! We bought it used (of course) and worked for 2 days to level and prep the spot. It was a lot of work, and a fair bit of money, but it was SO worth it! We spent the vast majority of the day yesterday in the water with the kids. The only whining was when they had to get out 🙂

My husband has different ideals for success. He grew up having a boat and swimming in his friend’s pool. Neither of us was rich by any means, it’s just all a matter of perspective.

I know that my children will grow up with their own aspirations and goals. I just hope we can give them the best view of life that they can get. Even without our really cool stuff we manage to have great times and amazing adventures. Whether we’re driving across country, riding in the mountains, floating in the lake, or hanging out in the back yard, there is always something to do and some way to enjoy our awesome life together.

Oh, and did I mention that I also have an underwater case for one of my cameras?!? Because I love it! 🙂

Summer living

June 23, 2014

RV life, and small living in general, has its ups and downs. For instance, I have the canopy pulled down over the front porch (now that I remembered how to) and am relaxing in the shade with the dogs and kids while listening to our built-in outside stereo system.

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Love this awning!

On the other hand, I just heated up water on the stove to wash dishes because our $700 water heater died a terrible death last week. Don’t worry, we found one for about $450 (Yay, eBay!) and it’s scheduled to be here on Thursday. Until then I shall be showering next door at the in-laws’ and warming dish water on the stove.

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Dish water on the stove....

I’m still in love with RVing full-time. The lack of kitchen counter space gets a little annoying, usually because I have dishes on the counter from not having bothered to wash them every night. And our bedroom would be about 4 square feet bigger if I had a magic wand to make one extra slide out.
It’s wonderful having a simpler life. No constant traffic by the house, no streetlight right out front, neighbors far enough away that you have to yell or walk over to talk to them. The kiddos are loving the fact that we’re right next door to Grammy and Poppy, too.
I recently went back to full time at work so that we can pay my Mother-in-law to watch the kids without her having to work an outside job. Everyone’s a little happier about it being this way. Life is small, life is simple, life is good. 🙂

Winter Life and Little Fixes

June 14, 2014

This winter in the 5th wheel was a combination of amazing and a big learning experience.
We put up shrink plastic on all the essential windows, and put the styrofoam plugs in the skylights, both of which really helped to keep the place warm. The kids’ room was the coldest all winter, since its the garage part, and less insulated. But a space heater and extra pillows and blankets stuffed in the corners really helped keep the chill off. We never did get more than the single layer of skirting put on and a small heater right at the water entrance, but it still held heat surprisingly well. I think we’ll work on putting an extra, more stable layer under there before next winter hits.
The propane worked really well. We went through our 125 gallon tank about every 3 weeks, which wasn’t bad for my cold-bloodedness needing the place kept warmer than Hubby would’ve probably preferred.
We finally put a respectable latch on the gate (from ACE Hardware, of course). I was So happy that it worked as well as it does- even the kids can get in and out of the yard without a problem (we added a pull string on the inside so we don’t have to reach over) and the dogs are nice and secure.
But now winter is over and Summer is fast approaching, so we’re learning to deal with the heat aspects of it, which I don’t mind at all!
We figured out why our fridge was not cooling last summer when we thought it was dying- the fans that cool the motor were not on. At all. Not even a little bit. The thermoswitch that controls them went bad, so the motor was overheating and not functioning when the sun was hot on it. That’s why it worked fine all winter, the motor didn’t overheat. We hardwired the fans and the fridge cooled down to normal within about 12 hours, so we ordered a new thermoswitch on eBay and the whole thing’s been running like a champ!
Now to conquer the weeds outside the fence….
Happy RVing to you all! (And I’ll try to post more than once every 5 months. Haha)

If the Trailer’s A-Rockin…

March 17, 2014

If the trailer’s a-rockin, it must be spring in Colorado. Yep. Winter is pretty much over, we’ve had our couple of weeks of really nice, sunny, calm, mid-50’s weather; now it’s time for gale-force winds for the next couple of months.

Tonight, while putting my kids to bed and reassuring them that “it’s just the windy season starting, there’s nothing to worry about” the only thoughts I could manage were wondering exactly how strong of a wind it would take to knock this RV over and where exactly everything would land if it did. These were not good thoughts, especially since the kids’ dresser would most definitely block their door shut and the twin bed would obviously fall onto the toddler bed. Bad brain! Bad brain!

It’s one of those things that you kind of forget every year living here in the valley. When the weather starts to warm up the winds come off the mountains with fervor. That fervor, for tonight, is estimated to be gusting at 45-60 mph. I have since reassured myself by researching the effects of wind speeds on buildings and RVs 🙂 I’m pretty sure tonight’s gusts aren’t going to do anything except to continue rocking us. Winds are expected to die off around midnight or 1am, so that seems promising.

For now, it’s almost like sitting in my boat…

One of My Favorite Things

January 30, 2014

As I write this post I am laying on my bed in the camper. There is a winter storm blowing in tonight, but so far it’s still warm enough that all that’s coming down is rain. Rain. Rain on the roof of an otherwise silent camper.
This has to be one of the most peaceful and relaxing sounds on the planet. There is something truly magical about the sound of rain falling. It seems to have healing powers for my soul. I would slightly prefer to hear it coming down through the leaves of so many trees, but, alas, this is Colorado and also winter.
I will take it! I will lay here on my bed and close my eyes and enjoy the serene silence broken only by raindrops falling on my roof. And perhaps pretend that I’m in a forest somewhere…

Snooze Button, My Friend, I Hate You

January 8, 2014

Snooze button, my friend, you are just so nice. You let me sleep a little longer when I know it’s time to rise. Snooze button, my friend, you are so very wonderful. A reminder every several minutes that I should start my day. Snooze button, I love you. You won’t let me sleep in too late. Snooze button, I love you. I… um… no, wait.
Snooze button, I hate you. You let me sleep when you know I should wake. Snooze button, I hate you. You know I get stressed when I wake up this late.
Snooze button, I really needed this time you took from me. Snooze button, you know I needed some time for peace.
Snooze button, you let me doze right though the twilight hour. Snooze button, not cool, I don’t even have time to shower.
Snooze button, I think it’s time we took a break. Snooze button, when my alarm goes off I’ll just stay awake.
Snooze button, it’s over. That’s it, I’m done, we’re through. Snooze button, nothing personal, I just don’t have time for you.

New Year’s Thoughts

January 3, 2014

It’s officially a new year in the RV. Christmas is finished, resolutions are being made, the weather has been warm(ish), and the year is young.
So far this year Hubby and I have been discussing our life plan again. That is to say, we don’t have one. I struggled with this thought on new year’s day- almost 30 year’s old and we have no real idea of what we’re doing with our lives. We have the girls, we have each other, we have… no idea about anything else. How long will we stay in the camper? Will we stay here in Colorado or move back to the East coast? Will we have another kid? Will we keep in the same line of work? Will I be able to get my photography career to take off?
It’s all a bit overwhelming to think about at times. However uncertain,I do know this: I have my family by my side, and that’s what matters. The rest will sort itself out. I don’t know when, and I don’t know what will come of any of it, but life will be good. We will make our best choices and make the best possible life for our family.