Happiness in the rear view mirror

I know it has been quite a while since I’ve written a post and I’m sorry. An awful lot has happened in the last nine weeks! It has been an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. In April, we put the house on the market. But it seemed every time I turned around, there was still some unfinished little project that needed to be done. Touch up the paint here, wash that cabinet, clean out that room. It was almost never ending and it really took a mental and physical toll on me. In May, we liquidated the contents of our business and our home. We auctioned off all the business assets. There was quite a crowd but the bidding was low and we came away with a lot less than we had hoped. But it was done! Next came our moving sale. Steve and I spent every spare moment moving items from the house to the garage. I organized and tagged while he did the heavy lifting. How in the world did we ever end up with so much stuff!?!?! The sale lasted 3 days – 3 long days! In the end, we did pretty well and a lot of “stuff” was gone. But what to do with the rest of our possessions? As I looked around at the leftovers, I made mental lists of what could be donated (and to whom), what should be thrown in the dumpster and what should be brought to Our Town Co Op, my favorite consignment store. It took several weeks to go from…

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To…

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In the midst of all of this, there was a family get together. For the first time ever, we had all three of our kids and all three of our grandchildren together.

the family

Plus there were lots of friends to say goodbye to. Breakfast with Bill and Sue, dinner with Jeff, lunch with Keith, dinner with Lindsay and Leo, beverages on the patio with Rick and Carol, lunch with Martha. It seemed every day we squeezed in one more goodbye. Unfortunately, it was taking away time I needed for wrapping everything up. Don’t get me wrong, I love our friends dearly, but I was feeling the stress of finishing my to-do list. Last week, I checked one of those things off my list – mowing the lawn for the last time…

the lawn

Finally it came down to packing Waldo. Our first destination is my dad’s house in Florida. There are just some things we don’t want to part with, but do not need on the road. Leaving them in Florida just makes the most sense, plus we need to have a new roof put on Waldo before we hit the road for good and staying at my dad’s sure beats nights in a motel! Finally, Waldo was loaded to the brim, every available inch of space was stuffed with something. It’s time!!!

 

We did stop at the end of our driveway to say one last goodbye…

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Happiness in the rear view mirror….

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Florida – Here we come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking it all with us – Or Not!

Despite the fact I have never been over attached to crap we’ve collected over the years possessions, downsizing can be an emotional roller coaster! Lucky for us, we began the process several years ago (something else we learned from my parents – start early). We’ve had numerous yard sales over the years and more Craig’s List posting than I care to count but what about the truly personal items: the scrapbooks, historical photographs, hand written notes from loved ones? What do you do with those items?

Several weeks ago, an idea began to take shape. While it is not practical, weight wise, to take all those photo albums with us (and seriously who ever opens their photo albums and looks through them?), there isn’t any reason we can’t take the pictures. We do have one of those electronic picture frames where the images scroll by, but I wanted something more personal and functional. We have done very little in the way of making Waldo our own. It still has the curtains my mom bought and while they do the job, they aren’t exactly my style. What did I having lying around I could repurpose? I’ve always made my own curtains, I just can’t justify the expense of fancy store-bought ones. The only exception to that was the blackout curtains Steve bought several years ago (To be honest, Laura was visiting her parents when the curtains magically appeared – Steve) Well, I could cut them down to size and that would be functional and while the soft blue color does match our bedroom, it won’t make them personal. My plan was to use the blackout curtains as a liner. I wanted to do this as inexpensively as possible, so I used an old microfiber bed sheet I had lying around for the “front” of the curtain. I ordered dark fabric iron-on transfers and turned our favorite pictures into transfers. I took some time to size them, print them, cut them out and iron them on, but the result was exactly what I had hoped for…

Curtain B

Curtain A

I included pictures of our parents, our children through the years, our grandchildren and us. The blackout liner will be perfect when we finally get to “The Land of the Midnight Sun” aka Alaska. I hadn’t told Steve about my idea and had them folded up on the dining room table when he got home from the shop one night last week. I think I might have seen a tear in his eye when he looked at them. Now our favorite pictures will always be right where we can see them!

On another front, we are one step closer to being ready to put the house on the market. The new carpet was installed this week. Now all the flooring upstairs is new. Of course it wasn’t as easy as just getting new flooring, I had to finish all the painting before the installers arrived – no small task! But – IT’S DONE!! woohoo!

Out with the old…

 

And in with the new…

 

The final thing I accomplished last week was to design and order new business cards. Here are the results…

new business cards

What do you think?

My goal this week is to finish the painting downstairs and to start getting ready for our final sale, our moving sale!

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

 

 

 

 

 

Planning To Wander

We’ve had a 5 year plan for about 14 years now. When we first got married, we talked about homesteading; living off the land, finding our own way. Life has a funny way of changing your plans for you. It doesn’t ask – it just does it and leaves you with the mess. After you dust yourself off, you start making a new 5 year plan. Sometimes, if you’ve screwed off for 5 years you’re not careful, 5 years comes and goes without any furtherance of your plan. Perhaps it wasn’t the right plan. My mom had a long list of serious medical issues, things that would ensure she didn’t live to be a centurion. So, my dad retired early, put their home on the market, bought a truck and a camper. Medical issues be damned – they were going to travel. And the things/places they saw!!! Steve and I began to formulate a NEW new plan. We wanted to travel too! Anyone who knows me, even just a little, knows I hate winter and I hate the cold. I’ve been talking about leaving New Hampshire since, well, let’s just say for a very long time.

Over the years, my parents went through several upgrades and downgrades. Everything from a 26′ tag trailer called The Dog, towed by an F250 named Beast to a 38′ Class A motor home named Waldo who towed a nameless Jeep Wrangler. I’m the one who named the motor home. I never knew exactly where my parents might be. Just because they were in Arizona yesterday, didn’t mean they were still there today. Hence – Where’s Waldo. Every summer, my parents would make the trek to New Hampshire, park their rig in our driveway and spend a few weeks with us. During their visit, Steve and I would listen to stories of the places they had visited and “oops” moments along the way. We learned a lot from my parents. Things like: when you buy your rig, make sure there are enough outlets, don’t buy things you don’t have room for, be willing to unplug from the world, it’s never too soon to start downsizing but maybe the biggest thing we learned is LIFE IS SHORT. Due to deteriorating health, in 2011 my parents bought a house in Florida. Travel time was over.

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Before my mom passed away in 2012, my parents gifted Waldo to us. Our travel plan got a little nearer – we had wheels!

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The next 16 months were a disaster for us. In Oct 2012 , my mom passed away at just 64 years old. In Sept. 2013, Steve’s dad passed away. And in Feb 2014, Steve’s 32 year old son lost his battle with cancer. We were learning first hand how short life is. And just to show that life doesn’t care what your plans are, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder to go along with the heart problems I have. Luckily, the heart problem was mostly solved with a cardiac ablation, but the autoimmune disorder isn’t going away (as with most autoimmunes there is no cure). Steve and I have learned to “live with it”. Good days – bad days. S0, before it becomes Bad days – good days we have decided to throw caution to the wind and implement our plan!

The first part of this blog will be about our journey from

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To

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We have a different Jeep now but you get the idea…

As we wander, I will post about where we are and the adventures we are having. I’d love for you to wander with us!

You can see where I’ve visited in New Hampshire by checking out www.TouringNH.com