Tonight is one of those nights in Boston where it’s dark before 6 (not that the sun ever showed its face today, anyway), and stormy, and you can hear the ever-constant gusting of the wind outside. I sit on my love seat near the window and look out at the branches at the tops of the very tall trees behind our building wave back and forth in the wind. It’s one of those nights where, if I still had a car, I would be very careful as to where I park it, lest a branch come down and land on the top of its roof, like I saw happen to someone else last year. It’s one of those nights where I sit and hold Osito in my arms and try to comfort her little chihuahua baby from shaking so much, and then I look around at my cats who are looking back at me, and I think of how blessed I am to have all of them to love, and protect from nasty weather like this, and people that don’t feel as kindly toward animals as I do. It’s one of those nights. Continue reading
There are just so many choices of RVs out there that at times I feel myself getting overwhelmed. Everyone tells me I’m in that exciting stage of things right now — the dreaming and research stage. And I agree, it’s definitely fun. But I seem to be changing my mind from month to month as to what I want. However, I think I have narrowed it down a bit by making one decision: I do NOT want to drive some huge, honking truck like a Yukon Denali or other. I just don’t feel comfortable driving such a large vehicle. Not to mention the gas that it would use on a daily basis. So…wanting to drive (at the largest end) a mid-size SUV like the Nissan xTerra helps me to narrow things down. (Very good if you are decision-impaired like me to have at least one decision sort of taken out of your own hands.)
A week and a half ago, I took a comp day from work so I could drive around to RV dealers. There is one RV dealer in all of New England who carries an expandable trailer called the Trail Manor, and they are on Cape Cod, about 90 minutes away from me. So that was the first place I went, thinking this could be the perfect solution for me. It’s lightweight (even the 2619 model has a dry weight of 2300 lbs), and doesn’t cause you to use more than one extra gallon per gas per 100 miles (or so they say.) Because it’s an expandable trailer, you can have one that is 19-20 feet when rolled down, and 26 feet of living space when opened up. Great for me and all the furballs, right?? Well, maybe.
In a Trail Manor, I kind of feel like I’m camping. My friend, Dan, of WanderDano fame of YouTube, asked me if I thought that was a good thing or a bad thing, and I said both. At the same dealer, I checked out a more traditional travel trailer and was amazed at how much more permanent it felt. And I seemed to be drawn to that. Plus, there seemed to be a lot more storage, and many more electrical outlets. Granted, I’m not going to use every electrical appliance I own all at the same time, but unless I was missing something, I only counted four in the Trail Manor. The smallest model, the 2417, didn’t have a plug in the bathroom (what could they be thinking?) but the other models did. I’m a girl. I might need to have a plug in the bathroom, you know? :-) That, and I have to admit, storage is a big thing to me. From all that I have read, whatever storage you have in an RV, you never have enough. And, I honestly didn’t see a whole lot of storage capacity in the 2417. The larger models, the 2619 and 2720, I could picture maybe having enough room for all my stuff. (You have to remember, it’s not just my stuff, but that of the furballs I will be taking on this new life with me. For having such little bodies, the stuff you need to take care of them can really add up over time. Not that I am complaining, trust me, I’m not!)
So, the feeling of camping I mentioned? I like the idea of camping, but I also like the idea of permanence, even if it’s just what I am living in and carting around with me, at the same time. I thought about it, and I realized, my life is going to change in so many ways next year. I won’t have the same 9-5 job to go to every day. I won’t be living in this part of the country. If I do seasonal work, my surroundings are going to change every few months. And I’ve always needed a bit of security in my life. Ok, maybe more so than most. That’s why the whole idea of changing my life is so exciting and at the same time, terrifying, to me.
The folks at the McD RV dealership were very nice and didn’t hover over me the whole time I was sitting in the RVs, trying to picture myself in them, long term. Not so much at the other places I went to. From there, it was on to Camping World of Berkeley, where I was disappointed that most of the travel trailers were locked. Yep, I’m assuming that they, and most dealers, do this so you have to go ask a salesperson for help. And I didn’t want that that day – I just wanted to look inside, see the setups, see how stable or not-so-stable they felt as I stood in them. I was able to get into one trailer at Camping World, and really liked what I saw. Then I found out it was over 5000 pounds, dry-weight, so I high tailed it out of that one! No use falling in love with something you’re not gonna marry, right?
So my trip to Camping World took all of, oh, 25 minutes, and that included my trip to the ladies’ room upon arrival to change out of some of my layers. (The weather is fickle in New England, a day can start out cold and warm up like you wouldn’t believe, even at the end of September.) I then went to a place called Campers Inn, where I was able to get into one, count it, one, travel trailer. And with my friend Dan’s help, I realized it was not even on their website, so I had no idea of how much it cost. Every single other trailer was locked, and even though some of the employees saw me, no one even bothered to ask if I wanted or needed help. So, that was another quick visit.
I then went to Bradford RV, which was just a few miles down the road. Again, the same thing. Everything locked. Except that this time, the salesperson saw me try to open the door to an ultra-lite (by Forest River) and came out to greet me. He asked me a few questions, and some look that I can’t describe came over his face (albeit briefly) once he asked if my budget was under 10K, and I said yes. I think at this point, he thought he was being generous in showing me two different RVs, one a 16 foot model and one a 17 foot model, the cheapest of which was 12K, brand-new. He hovered the entire time, so I probably spent all of ten minutes there. He checked over the inventory of their other location to see if they had any used RVs in my price range, but no such luck.
At this point, it was somewhere around 3:30ish, so I decided to go to one more RV dealer before heading for home. My zipcar was due back at 7, and I needed to give myself a good buffer of time to get back to Boston with the rush hour traffic. (Yes, rush hour begins around 3:30 in these here parts, and yes, in case you are wondering, it does suck. Big time. Part of why I am looking to move from the big city!)
Finally, there was a dealer willing to talk to me as if I had a brain in my head, in Plainville, MA. He spent a lot of time with me discussing hitches, amps, 12v batteries, etc. (And when I wanted to take pics inside of a trailer, he said “you don’t need me in this picture, I’ll get out of your way!”) I went to this dealer because I knew they carried the R-Pod and I really wanted to see what they looked like on the inside. It’s one thing to see the pictures but another completely to see them in person. We talked for a while about them, and how I wanted a smaller travel trailer but that the R-Pod was definitely out of my price range.
So he showed me a 2000 Fleetwood Mallard 19N (click here for some stock photos of the same model) that was 19 feet long, and I really liked most of what I saw. It was a bit dated, but I expected that (designs on the mirrored front of the cabinets over the bed). It didn’t have a sink in the bathroom, which I admit, I want. I don’t like the idea of having to leave the bathroom to wash my hands in the kitchen sink, or to brush my teeth in the kitchen sink, all the time. That’s just me. But other than that, I liked it. And the price was right–$5,950, and they would be willing to store it for free for me until April. So…why didn’t I jump at it?? The weight. Its dry weight was already 3897 lbs, and with full tow capacity, the dealer estimated it would be about 5600 lbs. Meaning I’d need a vehicle with at least 6000 lbs towing capacity, and honestly, I’m not comfortable with having an engine working so hard. So, when push came to shove, and Dan helped me with my pro/con list and talking over my priorities (he let me come to all my own conclusions), I decided to not go for this one. The right one will come to me, he keeps assuring me. I believe him. I’ve just got to get better at the patience thing. As in, getting some….the only thing stopping me from going out and buying an RV right now, is: where do I put it?? :-)
I have to admit…I’m really loving the idea of a molded fiberglass travel trailer like a Casita or a Scamp these days…yes, I know they are smaller, but they are lightweight, and there’s no unfolding to do, and they’re white on the inside (white is a big thing to me, I hate the look of all wood, especially dark wood.) Whenever I sit inside of a travel trailer, I try to imagine where each of my animals would feel most comfortable, and where I would put the litterbox(es), so that I wouldn’t trip over them. My friend Dan suggested I take a bunch of stuffed animals with me and throw them all over the place to get an idea of what it would be like with all the furballs. He may just be onto something, LOL.
I have to admit, every time I go to look at RVs, it’s like another part of the dream is becoming real, slowly, oh, so slowly…I’m getting there…
I know that some of you out there are RVers, so I’d love to hear your thoughts (and even if you’re not RVers, please feel free to comment.)
As always, if you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe! :-)
You know how it feels when you wake up one morning and you feel a little tickle in your throat that wasn’t there the night before? Yep…happened to me on Tuesday. I went to work anyway, thinking, ok, maybe I can get through this without it becoming worse. We have all this leftover candy in one of my colleague’s office (from an event) so I felt like a 70 year old Wilford Brimley, sucking on Worthers’ Originals all day long. (If you don’t know what I’m referring to here, well, please don’t tell me and make me feel old…) While they tasted good, they didn’t do squat to fight a cold. So…I took the next two days off while the cold went into my chest and then into my head. I still have it now, but it’s much more manageable. Nothing that a lot of cold medicine and sleep can’t help!
Here’s just a sampling of what I am thankful for this week:
1. I am so thankful that I had over 60 days of sick time saved up so I was able to be paid for those days off. Not everyone can. At least my head doesn’t feel like it wants to explode from the pressure today, anymore.
2. You know how animals always know when something is off with their human (slave?) Mine are no exception. As Mom needed to sleep, they burrowed in next to me both days. I felt very loved.
3. How well my building is maintained. When I got sick, I finally got the energy up to take a shower, only to find that I had no hot water. The guys in my building figured out the problem pretty quickly, and wow, did the hot steam from the shower make me feel a ton better!
4.Still thankful that October is a 3 paycheck month!! I have paid about $1167 on my student loan this month so far, and I would like to pay a bit more if I can! Just seeing the balance go down to the $13K range feels freaking awesome!
5. This weekend is the pretty famous Head of the Charles Regatta, where crew teams from all over compete. I was able to sit and watch them practice yesterday for a few hours. If you have never seen how powerful the big 8-man/woman boats appear to be when watching a really good team work together, you don’t know what you’re missing! It’s pretty inspiring. They are one of my favorite parts about Boston – whenever I run around the Charles on morning runs, seeing them row by always gives me a little boost of motivation to keep on going.
6. Being home sick and not having a TV, what’s a girl to watch, other than Netflix and YouTube? I ended up watching several videos of people talking about minimalism and budgeting, and I’m even more jazzed than ever at keeping a lid on my expenses and seeing just how low can I go.
So, this morning, I woke up, and really wanted to make a smoothie to use up some food in my fridge. Problem is, I don’t have a blender anymore. I found that I didn’t really use the large blender that often, like I had used my single serving blenders in the past. (Unfortunately, both were on the cheaper side and lasted less than one year.) So, this morning, I ordered the Nutribullet through Target, and it’s ready and waiting for me to pick it up later today. Hello, healthier-eating-me! Hello, less wasting of food! Hello, green smoothies! (It’s a bit more expensive but it seems to have a lot more power than the others did, so here’s hoping…)
7. I heard from my author the other day – she has more work for me to do! Not a ton, but hey, every little bit helps! Working for her helps me to justify/rationalize the purchase of an Asus Transformer T100 which I should be receiving through Amazon this weekend, yay! (Quick explanation – my chromebook is not compatible with Microsoft Office, and I need some of the extra functionality of Word that Google Docs doesn’t give me.) This is a purchase that I think will pay for itself over time, if I can get some online work to supplement any kind of workamping or physical work I will end up doing. For people like me living on a budget (or at least trying to), it gets good reviews.
What are you thankful for this week? Please drop me a line below! Also, hit like or subscribe if you’ve liked this post, and thanks for reading!
1. I took the day off on Monday as comp time for having worked six days in a row the week before at my full time job. We have this really cool option to rent cars in Boston through something called ZipCar. You don’t have to pay for the gas you use (you use their gas card and enter in some information) and you get 180 free miles per day. So I used it on Monday and drove around to five different RV dealers to look at all different types of RVs. It really helped me to figure out some priorities as to what I want in an RV. Also, I had the help of two very good online friends who are more knowledgeable when it comes to RVs than I am. D and R, you guys know who you are. Thank you!! (I’ll save the particulars of what I discovered for another post, because I really want to talk about it in more detail than this type of post will normally allow.)
2. I no longer have to regularly open up the gym on weekday mornings, and what a difference it has made in my energy levels! I am now back to my normal routine of being able to work out every day before work. And what a difference it has made to my morale and self-esteem. I’m happy to again be doing some of my harder “Terri workouts” that I use to put myself through. God, I cannot tell you how much I have missed working out hard! (If you’re one of those people who hates to work out or sweat, well, then you can just consider me a weirdo. No offense taken!)
3. The weather has returned to being cooler, more autumn-like in New England. Lots of leaves have fallen, which makes me kind of sad, because I know what is following in its wake (the dreaded winter), but it also creates such a homey, nesting type of atmosphere. Osito loves the cool weather for our walks, I can tell. She has an extra spring in her step, and Wednesday night, she even appeared to be running! When your dog is 13 years old AND blind, and she starts running, you can’t help yourself but be happy. I just get such a huge smile on my face when I see her doing that. I usually yell out “You’re running, Baby O! You’re running!” (To which she is probably thinking, “duh…Mom, I know that already!”)
4. I’m feeling good enough about my moods that I have asked my doctor if we can start weaning me off of one of my anti-depressants. I take Prozac and Wellbutrin. Why two different pills? Well, they go to different receptors in the brain. Prozac has a very long half-life so that means that if you were to stop taking it cold turkey (which you really shouldn’t), it would stay in your system for about 5-6 weeks. The half life for Wellbutrin is much shorter, so I was told I could even start taking it every other day, since the one I have been taking is a tablet with timed release. I was a bit nervous to do something that seemed so drastic, so we are just cutting my dose down slowly, and the pill I am now taking is only 75 mg, and it’s not time-released. So we will see how it goes!
I think I am past that point in my life when I needed the wellbutrin. I started taking it to help me with the side effects of Prozac when I was on a high dosage for Prozac. (High doses can sometimes make you feel very “flat” – in other words, you just don’t give two craps about much at all. Everything is very “meh.”) Whatever stressor was bothering me at the time is no longer there, so wish me luck! It is my hope that by next fall, I will not be taking any medication for my asthma (something else we are slowly weaning me off of), and probably down to just one prescription. It will cost me a lot less if I am successful, and also, I’d like to just take as few medications as I possibly can.
5. This weekend is the final weekend of the Topsfield Fair, and you know what that means!! (Well, actually, you don’t, but you’re about to!) That’s right, folks, think of it….Deep Fried Oreos!!! Seriously, the best thing ever in the world. It’s good enough that I salivate all year just thinking of it. :-) The fair also means I get to pet lots of farm animals, and see the Guiness World Record setting pumpkin – that’s right, they judge that every year in this little corner of MA.
6. Oh, I almost forgot!!! I paid $750 on my LAL loan earlier this week since this is one of those 3-paycheck months at my full time job!! So now the balance is down to $14, 017 and some change. With the next regularly scheduled payment on the 16th, that bad boy is going down below 14K!!!! Die, bastard, die!!!
7. At my part-time job, we made our sales goals for the past month, so I’m hoping to wake up to a bonus in my savings account as a result. I’ll update this post if it happens!
Have a great holiday weekend (if you’re reading this in the US and are one of the lucky ones to get Columbus Day as a holiday.) If you’ve liked this post please hit like or subscribe! Or drop me a line below!
A friend of mine posted a video on Facebook earlier today and it just reaffirmed my decision to keep taking steps every day toward realizing my dream. Even if some days it’s just a small step, it still counts. Because some days, you take huge steps. Like this past Monday, when I went to five different RV dealers so I could take a look at a variety of travel trailers. Some conventional, some expandable. I’ll explain what conclusions those visits helped me come to in a later post, but first, I want to share this video with you:
Woman with Terminal Brain Cancer Decides to End Her Life Nov. 1
When I hear stories like this, and think of how many more years I have been fortunate to live than someone like this woman, it makes me feel a few different emotions: gratitude (there but for the grace of God, go I); sympathy for this woman and her family; regret at having wasted so many years of my life living the way I thought I *should* live it, thinking that the only measure of success in this world was to achieve the conventional ideas of what is a successful life. You know, being married, having a house, a good paying and stable job, etc.
“Seize the Day. What’s Important to You? What Do You Care About? What Matters? Forget the Rest.”
These are all statements made by Brittany Maynard toward the end of this video. Think about them, and I mean, really think about them. And then, do something about them.
I spent so many years of my life just *thinking* about what I might want to do, but that’s all I ever did was think about my dreams. Didn’t take any action beyond the dreaming part. I kept myself in debt. Kept trying to ignore that little nudge my insides would give me when I felt like something was missing, but was too afraid to really figure out what that was. What I knew was safe, and safe was supposed to be ok. It was supposed to be enough. And a few years ago, it just wasn’t.
A few years ago, I was terrified I couldn’t make a go of things on my own. But I did. I have been terrified to make mistakes in the past, and let myself stay rooted in place. Toward the end of this summer, as you know, I bought a scooter. It was a mistake, and one that really stressed me out there for a few weeks and I felt a lot of self-loathing for having been so stupid. And then I realized I was beating myself up for being human. I made a mistake. I could keep beating myself up about it, or I could learn from it, and try to move forward. (And hope that I can sell it in the spring when people are more likely to buy one.)
Life is too short to keep beating yourself up. So, don’t do it. Life is too short for fear to be given the power to hold you in one place. So don’t let it. Life is too short to keep caring what other people think about you and let their opinions form the way you life your life. So stop caring. Life is too short to waste it by doing things you don’t want to do. So stop doing them. Start doing what you want to do. Start doing what you love. Start doing what makes you happy.
When you’re outside and see something beautiful, really take it in. Really absorb it and see how it makes your heart feel. How it expands. How it makes you feel at peace. That’s what I do when I hear the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees. That’s what I do when I see the waves the wind causes on the reservoir while out walking with Osito. It’s why I get such a huge smile on my face when I see my 13 year old, blind dog start running on our walk, with no fear whatsoever.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to look at freelance jobs for research and writing. Because they are two things I’m good at, and want to be able to do next year when I’m living on the road. And to read a book that has really sucked me in, because it’s something I love to do. Read, and expand my mind. Reading takes me into another world. It’s something I would like to do for others. And I write this blog now because it’s something I love to do. Writing is cathartic to me. It helps me to say things I might not otherwise be able to express. And to connect with others, hopefully.
Thank you so much for reading. Please leave me a comment below if you have any thoughts on the topic, or hit like or subscribe.
- Oh thank God, it’s Friday. I worked on Sunday at my full time job on Sunday and it’s been a super busy week for all of those in my department so I couldn’t find a day to take off to use my comp time. So I’m taking it this Monday and am going to rent a zip car and check out RVs at the dealers near me! I’m super excited! Going to do some searches of their inventory this weekend so I can plan out my route, and also not drive more than 180 miles in the process. After that, I have to pay extra.
- The weather this week in Boston has been pretty similar to what I think it will be like in the pacific northwest. Lots of rain and grey skies. It was very eye opening. Between the realization of the past few weeks that the scooter was not right for me, and the weather being kind of cold and raw, at times, I realized I really do need to go the travel trailer and crossover/small SUV route next year. I also realized it was very worth spending about $80 (on sale) for a rain jacket from Eastern Mountain Sports about a month ago. Riding a bike in the rain with the right gear is so much better than wearing just a windbreaker which, while it breaks wind, isn’t even water resistant.
- As I’ve been thinking more and more of what I want in a travel trailer, I’ve also acknowledged the fact that I really don’t want to have to buy some large honkin’ truck. A smaller one, maybe, or mid-size SUV, but I really don’t want something like a Yukon Denali, or Chevy Suburban, etc. So, I need something very light-weight, but still with enough room for all of my animals to be comfortable. I also need a tow vehicle in which I can let them out of their carriers, but still keep the vehicle organized in such a way that there can be barriers between the groupings of (1) Max and Sebastian, (2) Callie and HoneyBun, and (3) me, Osito and Bonkers. Osito insists on being on my lap, and Bonkers doesn’t travel so well in a carrier, so I want him to be close to me in case he gets sick. We’ll be like a traveling zoo!
- The realization in number 3 has reignited an interest in me to minimalize, minimalize, minimalize! In so doing, I’ve come across some pretty good youtube channels including this one, Unconventional Living.
- Take a look at the photo above. Aren’t they both beautiful?? Max is the one who is sort of facing the camera, and he’s the diva. You’ve seen pics of Bonkers before with his cute little ears. :-) I’ve NEVER seen them sit this close together before, and not have one growling or afraid of the other (that’d be Bonkers being afraid of Max in case you’re wondering.) Seeing this made me feel hopeful that maybe I can really do the RV life with all of them and not have hell breaking loose all the time! I know that when you put animals in different physical situations, the hierarchy between them can change over time. So maybe there will be peace on earth, ta da!
Today is a day when a big payment will be made to my LAL loan. As you may recall from an earlier post, October is one of those amazing months where I get three paychecks, yay! It allows me to make a big payment since the other day I realized that on a normal month of just two paychecks, I lose about 28 or 29% to taxes and other costs, like retirement deductions, etc. So that brings me down to about 70% of may paycheck being my take home pay. Out of that amount, I live on about 52% of it. So really, I’m living on about 1/3 of my gross pay!
How much do you live on out of your gross or take-home pay?
If you’ve liked this post, please hit like or subscribe, or drop me a comment below! If any of you have comments on the fiberglass travel trailers, or great tow vehicles, I would love to hear them, too!
I know this post usually comes out on a Friday, so please forgive me. I pretty much crashed on Thursday evening, early, and didn’t have a chance to get anything written on Friday. And then it was the weekend! Continue reading