Monday, November 24, 2014

Sigh......

The other day, while driving to down I-5 through Seattle, I saw a good number of rigs, presumably heading south for the winter. Was I jealous or was I envious?  Accordingly to Wikipedia, and I quote:

"Envy" and "jealousy" are often used interchangeably in common usage, but the words stand for two distinct emotions.[1] Jealousy is the result or fear of losing someone or something that one is attached to or possesses to another person (the transfer of a lover's affections in the typical form), while envy is the resentment caused by another person having something that one does not have, but desires for oneself.

It appears that I am envious....but not really.  I don't feel resentment towards those of you that are already headed out.  But dang, I wish I was one of you.

The repair work on the trailer continues.  I stay out of it, and I'm doing my best not to nag.  In fact, I have agreed not to nag/panic until January 31st.  God help me! As it is,  I am starting to get tired of whining about the situation anyway, and have been looking for other outlets to occupy my time.

First up, get the doctor appointments out of the way.  Whoopie!  I thought I may be looking at bunion surgery, and if so, we wouldn't be able to leave for 8 weeks anyway.  Might as well get that over with.  Then perhaps I can resume walking, and maybe even take up easy hikes.  I read so many blogs and see so many gorgeous photos that people take on hikes - I want to see those scenes too. A swollen, throbbing foot has kept me from doing things like this in the past (not to mention that I am totally out of shape), but if I take care of the bunion, maybe I will be able to do some of those things.  However, it turned out that it was going to end up being reconstructive surgery.  Apparently, my proximal phalanx has started to slide off the first metatarsal, which would require realignment of the big toe, complete with metal plate and screws.  That part I could handle.  Also, there was the 6-8 weeks in a cast, putting no pressure on the foot at, using crutches, a walker and/or a scooter.  Even that I could handle.  The part that made me say, "Maybe later," was no showering for 6-8 weeks.  Well, one could shower, if you had a hand held shower head and a shower stall big enough to hold a shower chair and a 5 gallon bucket on which to prop the casted foot.  The only shower in our house that could possibly accommodate that is downstairs, and I would not be able to go down the stairs (or rather I could go down, but I could not go back up).  I just could not do sponge baths and sink shampoos for 6 weeks and be a happy camper.  Plus, I would be looking at 4-6 weeks of physical therapy afterward.  Nope, it ain't gonna work.  Although I do have to say, I will now be more open to a full sized shower if and when we buy a new 5th wheel.  The salesmen always look at me funny when I'm not impressed with full sized showers in a rig.  I'm 5'3" and my husband is 5'6" - we aren't that big - and I'd rather have more cupboard space than a tub sized shower......At least that was what I thought until I heard about what is involved in the recovery process of this bunion surgery.  I guess Aleve and I will be good friends for the next few years.  The pain is really only higher than a 5 out of 10 when the barometer sudden drops or when I've been on my feet for a long time.

The eye doctor appointment revealed that I am still seeing 20/20 or better, two years post-cataract surgery.  I'm so glad I had it done.

In the meantime, I've wanted to take up painting.  I started with watercolors and wasn't happy, so I switched to acrylics.  I've made some progress.  I have never painted before.  And I doubt anyone would call me artistically inclined, but I'm watching You Tube videos and I've done a few pieces that make me smile.







Do you paint?  Do you have any You Tube videos or other sources you would recommend.  I'm obviously a beginner and would welcome any guidance.  Maybe I'll try painting some scenes reminiscent of Arizona, Nevada and Southern Utah.  I'd like to give up the envy and be happy right where I am.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

RV Repair Update Part 2 And What's To Eat

I read on another RV blog that no matter what, when it concerns RVs, Fact #1 is that it is going to take longer and cost more than you think.  I can attest to that. I had hoped things would be done by now.  In fact, in my initial plan, we were to be back on the road by October 6th.  Somewhere along the line, Kim told me that was unrealistic.  Okay, so we stay home for the holidays, and leave January 6th.  Now that schedule date is up for discussion.  Kim continues to work most days on the rig. I don't know what it is he is doing, but he is out there doing something.  (Correction - he tells me what he is doing, but I don't really comprehend.) There are continued phone calls to "RV" at the NuWa Factory for "how-to" information.

I just know it is taking much longer than I wanted it to (see Fact #1).  I guess I shouldn't be surprised. As far as costing more, God bless us, not so much quite yet.  In fact, we did get quite a good deal on the new carpet and pad that will eventually go in the rig, once all the leaks are found, and the areas of rot in the floors and walls are fixed.  We chose a patterned carpet, and I'm just hoping that it is not too much for a smaller space.  It does blend well with the interior, and there will be a break in it as the galley floor is hardwood (or whatever they call the stuff that looks like hardwood but really isn't).



As I am more of a hinderance than a help in the RV repair department, I have taken over doing most of the housework and getting the yard ready for winter.  I have found my mulch spreading limit is about 6 bags a day (which includes the weeding prep work).  What will be nice is coming home in the spring and hopefully not seeing how prolific the weeds could be.

I am also working through the gazillion recipes I've "pinned" on Pinterest.  Here is one I have filed under Family Favorites called Greek Marinated Chicken and it is courtesy of Budget Bytes

Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain yogurt $0.63
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced $0.32
  • ½ Tbsp dried oregano $0.08
  • 1 medium lemon $0.49
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • freshly cracked pepper $0.05
  • ¼ bunch fresh parsley $0.20
  • 3½ to 4 lbs chicken pieces $6.86


Instructions
  1. To make the marinade, combine the yogurt, olive oil, minced garlic, oregano, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper in a bowl. Use a fine holed cheese grater or a zester to scrape the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon skin into the bowl. Also add the juice from half of the lemon (about 1-2 Tbsp). Stir until the ingredients are well combined. Roughly chop a big handful, or about ¼ bunch, of parsley and stir it into the marinade.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and marinade to a gallon sized zip top bag. Remove as much air as possible, close the bag tightly, and massage the bag to mix the contents and make sure the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate the bag for 30 minutes.
  3. After marinating for 30 minutes, either cook the chicken on a grill OR preheat the oven to 375 degrees in preparation to bake the chicken.
  4. To bake the chicken, place the chicken pieces in a large casserole dish (9x13). Bake the chicken in the preheated 375 degree oven for 45-60 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
I have made it a few times and everyone loves it.  Last night, I used 3 thighs and 2 breasts (bone in and skin on).  Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

RV Repair Update Or Hey, What's New On TV

Well, there is no RV repair update.  Kim is still working on it.   A tremendous amount of his "working" apparently involves thinking and research.  And honestly, I understand this and it is not a criticism on my part, but I have a serious case of itchy feet syndrome.  I'm ready to be back on the road, and sitting on my ass somewhere other than home.  I'm just frustrated.  I'm a full believer in measure twice, cut once, and I am very appreciative that Kim is researching and learning the best ways to make the repairs.  I know it is saving us a lot of money.  I'm just in a grumbling kind of mood, and I'm a tad bit jealous of the other RV bloggers who are writing about the places they are going and things they are seeing.  And to top things off, I had planned to spend the morning weeding and getting mulch on the flower beds, and I looked out the window to see rain, rain and more rain, even though the forecast was for sunny skies and 74.  Now, I'm just pouting.

The Fall TV schedule has begun - the highlight of my week so far.  I started to watch Debra Messing in The Mysteries Of Laura.  I may have made it to the second commercial.  I recorded it, so if there is nothing else on, I may give it another try, but I doubt it.  I'd rather watch a rerun of CSI or Law and Order: SVU or The Closer.

Madam Secretary with Tea Leoni was another story.  Great plot line, although I felt like I had seen most of the first episode in the trailers.  I like the character.  I love the writing.  And they left me with an intense scene that will insure that I tune in next week.

Tonight we will be enjoying the new seasons of Big Bang Theory, The Voice, and one of my very favorites - The Blacklist (James Spader is so deliciously evil).  I'm looking forward to The Scorpion.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Are You Reading?

Kim's work on the fifth wheel continues, which means we are "camped" at home, living in the house. My yard is under control.  The house is as clean as it is going to get. ( I refuse to go overboard when the temperatures are in the 80s. ) Yesterday, I washed windows and gave the kitchen floor a good scrubbing.  Today I may dust, but otherwise it will be a day of relaxation.

Which brings me to the subject at hand....what are you reading?  Here is what I am currently reading or re-reading.

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.  This is a re-read.  It is part of my morning spiritual//prayer routine, along with 365 Saints by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker, and Around The Year With Emmet Fox by Emmet Fox.

As part of my "continuing education" I've been reading and enjoying How To Write A Novel Using The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson.  I have started writing a mystery, and I'm just having trouble finishing it.  I've got plenty of excuses on why I'm not working on it regularly, but primarily I am just not feeling motivated right now.  I'm looking for inspiration and a swift kick in the behind-er.

For fun, I am now reading Judgement Call by J. A. Jance.  Somehow I missed this book, which is the 15th in the Joanna Brady series.  It takes place is Bisbee, AZ and surrounding areas.  I have enjoyed the character over the years, and we hope to travel to that area next year.  (It was actually planned for this November/December, but the RV repairs took precedence)  If you haven't read any of J A Jance's books, I highly recommend them.  I love her Detective Beaumont series which takes place in Seattle. I love being able to picture in my head exactly where things are happening.  I also love her Ali Reynolds series which takes place in the Sedona, AZ - another place I have spent enough time that it is very easy to imagine.  Book 16, Remains Of Innocence, is on deck.

Also on my Kindle is A Shot In The Bark by C.A. Newsome,  Cloudbusting by Slade Roberson,  The Hard Bounce by Todd Robinson, and The Racketer by John Grisham.

I recently finished Top Secret Twenty One by Janet Evanovich.  Not my favorite in the Stephanie Plum series, but the author continues to be a role model for me as far as my writing goes.

So, what are you reading?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mega RV Countdown

Last night, we watched Mega RV Countdown (Sturgis) on The Travel Channel.  Lots of cool rigs.  But who ARE these people?  Who gives their son a tricked out motor home for a high school graduation gift?  Such craziness.  And honestly, who wants their rig to look like a spoiled rich kid's bachelor pad from the 80's?  I guess I am just more simple folk.  To each his own.  And I suppose I will be watching more episodes just to see how the mega rich (or mega in debt) people spend their money.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Snowball in August (or How Trailer Repairs Can Get Out Of Hand)

I know this has nothing to do with snow, but this project has grown like a snowball rolling downhill.

It all started when I noticed one of the seams across the front of the 5th wheel trailer, under the overhang where it meets the vertical front panel, would gape open when resting on the front landing gear and close when hitched to the truck. You'd think it would be just the opposite, gape open when hitched, close when resting on the landing gear.

That started an internet search which led to Lippert Frame Flex problems. Apparently it is not all that uncommon. In Lippert's defense, they do supply 80% or more of the frames to the entire RV industry. On the other hand, if you look at some of the welds they are definitely questionable.

I looked on our trailer where others reported having issues and lo and behold, I found the frame was cracked at the welds for the pinbox. Not the welds failing, but the frame metal itself is cracking.

Now back to the snowball reference. While gutting the bedroom to give the welder access to the frame to repair the welds and beef up the frame I found wood rot in the walls and floor. The bedroom slide room front outer corner is rotted top to bottom as is the floor where it attaches to the wall. I had found that leak a couple years ago and fixed it with eternabond tape but it appears the damage was already done.

Now it appears I also have some water damage in the front right corner above the overhang. This is probably why the front seam was gaping. There are a number of lag screws, both vertically and horizontally securing the side wall to the frame, and between rotten wood and frame flexing, the lag screws are either sheared off or not holding.

So far, as mentioned, I have the bedroom and closet gutted and the floor and part of the wall in the slide removed. I just purchased some lumber today and will be starting to re-frame the walls. I found a source for the 1" OSB board for the slide room floor (Midway Plywood Co.) and found an RV dealer (Paulsbo RV in Everett, WA) who could order the black vapor barrier cloth that is on the bottom of the flooring. Not easy stuff to find. Mobile home suppliers have it but it is only about 2 mil thick as opposed to the stuff on the RV which is more like 12 to 14 mil thick. There is also a special tape called floor scrim repair tape. I saw one person's repair online and he used the tape to reinforce the vapor barrier cloth where it contacted the rollers when extending and retracting. I think I'll do that, too.

I also removed the under belly panels. The ones that look like corrugated plastic. It's called Coroflex. I wanted to see what was under the trailer and look for any signs of water incursion from below. I also have some water damage to the big slide and surrounding floor and don't know if it is related to the water damage I described above, but water leaks are hard to track and I need to be sure I fix the leak or I'll be doing this again. Actually, no, I won't. I'll trade it in on a new rig.

We've already cancelled leaving for warmer weather in October to make sure we have the frame flex problem fixed and all the rotten wood up front taken care of. On the plus side. I've justified buying a bunch of new tools with some of the money we've saved by my doing the work myself. It's a little scary because I'm learning as I go but I come from a long line of DIYers so I've had years of experience doing the odd job.

I've started a photo album on PhotoBucket to document the project as it progresses.

http://s1276.photobucket.com/user/torzach/library/

Kim

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I Am Reviewing The Situation......

and I think I better think it out again.

How many times do we spend hours planning a trip, investigating RV parks, estimating expenses, etc., only to change our minds.

I had planned our Fall Journey to include Utah, Nevada, Arizona and California.  I was really pleased with the places I had chosen to stay and getting excited about what we were going to do and what we were going to see.  And then shit happened.

My recently gallbladder surgery (combined with our high deductibles from our new insurance plan - what a headache!), and some unexpected repairs needed on the 5th wheel, seriously tapped in to our travel money.  We could make the trip, but it would be on a tighter budget....a much tighter budget.  And we have some family stuff going on that I would like to be home for.  We might actually find time to make annual check ups, eye exams and dental appointments if we stayed home until after the first of the year.

We haven't made our final decision yet.  I am open and receptive to buying the winning Power Ball ticket or having some financial windfall bless our bank accounts.  I will wait to see how the medical claims pay out, how big the RV project becomes, or how itchy our feet get after being home for months at a time, before we start canceling reservations.  In the meantime, I guess we will just go with the flow.

Happy Trails!