Friday, January 15, 2010

Whoops! Where did the time go???

A new year is already in progress and I am still fretting about “catching up” 2009 stuff.  Boy, it is a real burden to make today seem like just today and not  2 weeks ago. I guess an update to this blog is in order but first, a few words about maintaining a blog.

There are a number of very dedicated people that chronicle their daily lives in their blogs. Howard and Linda’s RV-Dreams blog, Nick Russell’s Gypsy Journal  and Mike and Pat McFall’s  Mike and Pat’s Travels.   Like poems, each has its own rhythm and rhyme and I look forward to gleaning the good stuff from each new post.  Nick’s life as a newspaperman has him dedicated to a daily diary that is only 1 among several that he manages to keep up with (Bad Nick’s blog, and several other blogs and sites based in Motorcycles, guns, and other topically interesting info centers). 

But Nick is an exception. I do occasionally read others blogs, some daily, some not, and most are more homebody centric than focused to a particular theme or life interest. The content really is more like a diary than a news story of the day and that is not a criticism, just an observation.  The general impression is that most are interesting to a fault and can consume most of my day just staying “well read” in them.

Maintaining this blog and a few others has me torn between reading and writing..  just not enough time to do both…. regularly.  My original intent with this blog focused on what life is like just trying to get on the road in a transition to living a full time lifestyle.  Its not always about RVs and RVing and often is about seemingly unrelated things.  Those “things”, though, are the nuts and bolts of our lives and when moving to a completely different lifestyle like full time RVing, some of this infrastructure has to be dealt with to make it happen.  Little of it is turnkey, though, and I find that the closer we get the more effort I have to spend just figuring out how to engineer the results we want from today’s starting position.

I mentioned the other blogs because Mike and Pat have started theirs on the other end of the blogging routine. They were publishing once a week but always on Sunday.  Now they update on Sunday and Wednesday due to demands from their readers.  However, Howard and Linda have finally, after 5 years, eased their commitment off from every day to every few days, due to the demands of their own life on the road.  Nick is still doing his daily update and it stumps me how he is able to maintain all that he does and still run rallies, travel and publish an RV centric hardcopy newspaper.  At my age, I can’t get a whole daily blog post done without having to take a potty break and that usually means that I have to do a reread of my writing because the break caused me to lose my train of thought.

From what I have done, tried to do and observed others doing there is no slack time in a full time RVing lifestyle.  It is every bit as busy and consuming as any other way of living.  It just has different choices available but they still have to be considered and executed. I doubt that anyone doing it stays laid back and relaxed for very long. So, until I can get both feet either in the boat or back onto the dock I am going to have to admit that I cannot keep a daily post running at this time.  Maybe in the future I will be able to get back to that level but for now, it will have to be…… intermittent, at best.

Now, what you really came here to read.

The holiday season left us feeling good about our whole family. The kids are all grown and nicely growing into their own family lives. They are all employed (a good thing) and they are all happy (a rarer thing these days). As Merrily and I move closer to being on the road, they are all communicating more amongst themselves and depending more on one another for help and advice than on us.  This is very heartwarming for me to see this growth in them all.

Our return from our vacation to Disney and the shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral resulted in a plan to go to Wilmington, NC over the New Year’s day holiday.  Its only a couple of hours away and we did enjoy it last summer. However, Merrily and I came down with some bug and though she was only down for a few days, I continue to struggle with the respiratory issues so we postponed the Wilmington trip to this weekend for my birthday.  I turn the magic 66 which puts me at that full retirement age according to SOME government agencies. The biggest advantage is that I can now make whatever $$$ without it causing my social security income to suffer. Since I started receiving it when I turned 62 the little amount I get has hinged on a very limited amount of “other income”.

Merrily is still working and sometimes gets discouraged because it is taking so long to get on the road full time.  Intellectually, knows that she is still under the full retirement age and we have to be able to sustain a lifestyle once we leave here.  Emotionally, she is more than ready to take off yesterday.  The 3 weeks on the road and in Florida in November proved that she has the mindset to do it full time.  I think that though it improved the confidence factor that we can do it, it may also have made returning to her job a good bit more difficult in the long term.

The Smart car bed building project is still in process, too. I have found another guy that does this sort of work but his workload has also picked a lot from last year and trying to find the time and energy to tackle my bed project is difficult.

I recently exchanged emails with Red Dog, the folks that drive their Smart up the ramps onto their HDT.  He said that they switched to winching it up.  I suspect that the difficulty of crawling in and out of the passenger side door every time was just too bothersome for his wife. This is another reason why I want to try loading and unloading from the passenger side of the HDT.  It puts the driver’s door to the rear of the truck making it easy to step in and out of the smart.

Beyond that, we finally have a frost free water hookup for the RV so I don’t have to run out and drain 100’ of hoses and water lines every time the temps are going to dip below freezing.  Thank you Emery and Sebastien.

Since the November trip I have been fine tuning the “must haves” for our life. I Just swapped out the toaster oven for one that takes up less counter space and is more convenient. A few other convenience improvements were adding to our X-10 system for remote control of our lighting, Switching all my banking to E-Statements from paper and switching from Microsoft Money to Quicken for our personal financial management program. Microsoft announced that they are discontinuing their Money program and support so I had to switch to something that is still viable.  Quicken is the only real contender these days.

I have also gotten the signup information for switching our residency and registrations to South Dakota.  This will be a bit more convenient for handling our mail as well as less restricting as far as vehicle registrations go. We are ditching the Taurus but still need to hang onto the Aerostar for awhile longer due to the smart car not being suitable for carrying much cargo or people.

The last few trips in Clifford have seen an intermittent FUEL TEMPERATURE SENSOR error pop up on the diagnostic display. That is something I need to attend to when it gets a bit warmer.  I don’t work well in the cold.

I have also had a strange anomaly with my exhaust stack on Clifford.  Ever since the muffler was replaced I find after a long trip that the section above the muffler manages to rotate so that it is blowing directly into the top of the side faring. I have already turned and tightened it twice. I guess we will see if it does it for this weekend’s trip.