Friday, March 29, 2013

Life: Hello's and Goodbye's

Life seems to always be filled with hello's and goodbye's.

We move, friends move, we change schools, we graduate from schools and move on to our first job. We marry and start families.  We change jobs.  Families grow up and start families of their own. Some changes are utterly and completely final, others change so we barely recognize the life we had before.  Some we initiate, some are initiated by others or others simply by circumstances beyond our control.
With each ending is a new beginning filled with hello's and goodbye's.

Why, why, why, why, why, why, do you
Say "Goodbye, goodbye, bye, bye".
Oh no.
You say "Goodbye" and I say "Hello, hello, hello".

Writing the last post on saying goodbye to my beloved horse, Holy Scat was a very difficult post to write.  I am happy that she is in a wonderful place to live out her years.  But the emotions are raw and the enormity of the life changes I have been undergoing sometimes overwhelm me.
But still I move forward.  I must.    

I don't know why you say "Goodbye", I say "Hello, hello, hello".
I don't know why you say "Goodbye", I say "Hello".

I have promised myself in starting this blog I must keep it honest.  It is not all excitement all the time.  There are difficult moments and moments I feel afraid of the unknown, as I am sure others who have walked this path have also experienced.  I feel a mix of emotions as I ready for this journey.  

You say "Yes", I say "No".
You say "Stop" and I say "Go, go, go".
Oh no.
You say "Goodbye" and I say "Hello, hello, hello".
I don't know why you say "Goodbye", I say "Hello, hello, hello".
I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.
I am not closing the door on my past life, only beginning a new chapter.  Electronics of this past century allow us to keep in touch with those we love in many new ways. Without these advances I'm not sure I would have the courage to go out into the wilderness.
You say "Yes", I say "No".
(I say "Yes", but I may mean "No").
You say "Stop", I say "Go, go, go".
(I can stay still it's time to go).
Oh, oh no.

 Lyrics from "Hello, Goodbye" by Paul McCartney
Shortly after this was released, McCartney explained, "The answer to everything is simple. It's a song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That's the amazing thing about life."
Goodbye and Hello
Hello and Goodbye

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Saying Goodbye to My Ole Friend

Little girls often have a love affair with horses.  I certainly did.  Across the road where I grew up lived a pinto mare in a pasture that I visited often.  My girl friends and I 'played horses', often galloping through the fields and I dreamed of one day owning a horse.

Well, my dream came true.

Holy Scat

And I must say I have loved every moment with my precious girl.  She is a feisty one and quite frankly  that is one of the things I have loved most about her.  (Maybe she and I are a bit alike in that department.)  They call them the alpha mares and believe me that title fit her to a tee.

What did I know about training a horse to ride.  NOTHING.  I took a few spills and we spent many hours in the round pen and trails but together we learned and worked it out. I was fortunate that I could ride right from my place down to the river or the miles of fields in front of my house.

 She  loves to give rides.  I could always count on her patience and safe delivery of precious riders.  It was as if she knew how much they depended on her.


There were many more rides upon her back than pictures.

My Granddaughter began her love affair with horses at a very young age.

 I hope someday she will have a horse of her own.

When the economy changed it became clear to me that changes were coming in my life as well.  Without a job it was difficult to finance my dream.  I really held on to the dream longer than I should.  A severe back injury ended my riding days and left me with constant pain and worries of what one more fall from a horse's back could mean to my ability to walk.

My girl was getting older too with aches and pains and a limp when trotting. I worried that I would not be able to find another forever home who would love and appreciate her as I have.

One of the first people to answer my add was a 4H leader.  She also has a business that provides pony rides for children's parties.  She has a big caring heart and she has many horses that she provides for the 4 H children to use, love and care for. One of those kiddos lives in an apartment and is unable to have a horse of her own at this time. Scat is now her special horse.
Another girls dream fulfilled.

I know she will be happy in her new home.
For anyone who has ever loved a horse, they know how deeply that love is.  It becomes a way of life and a way of being in the world. Life brings us many changes and we go forward having been changed by the experience forever.  I know I have.  
Saying goodbye is incredibly difficult.

Today, of course I am wishing there were many more rides in our future.

Good-bye ole friend, you will be forever in my hearts memory.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Christmas Morning has Arrived

Yesterday, I got the call that a package had arrived for me at Fed Ex.  I had it delivered at the office as I had a house their new house (I'm practicing positive thinking)  I went to pick up a vital necessity of my new life.

Drum roll please.........

  What is the matter?
 Did I build you up and then let you down?  I promise I will show you... all in good time.  the box was beat up but the contents were in perfect condition.

  Check out this case.  A really well built and padded case to protect all my secrets!
No, I'm not off to a really big job.  I'm done with the corporate world and happily on to a new  life with this as my only brief case! 

It also has a convenient, heavy duty handle for carrying.
It took 5 minutes to set up and presto......

My new power station for Lolita

 I went with a portable solar kit for a couple of reasons.

         First, I wanted it instantly.  It's one of my character flaws.  When I want something, I want it now.  Believe me I have had plenty of life lessons to teach me patience.  But I am a slow learner and I remain as impatient as ever.  I am headed to Utah, land of endless sun and I will have renewable power for my lights and a few other gadgets.  I won't be tethered to a campground electrical post away from the sights I came to drink in.  I can't wait to see all the gorgeous back porch views.
          Second, as much as I love Lolita, I'm not sure that she will be my long term home on wheels. But I will start with her and decide later what I can live with and what I can't live without.  So with portable solar I will have options.  I can sell the solar with her for a price or move it to a new home easily until a permanent solar system can be installed.
          Thirdly, Lolita is a vintage very lightweight trailer and I can't be sure of the integrity of the roofing supports so a portable land system means I don't have to further compromise her roof supports.
           Lastly, while I do manage a few repairs and modifications on my own, I know nothing about electricity and frankly it scares me.  This has instant set up that even I will be able to manage.  It should be up and running today!!!

Wish me luck... I have on my big girl panties and I'm off to tackle my new project!! 

I'm back with an update.  It took 10 full minutes to set up.
I'm not kidding and I'll tell you a secret...
I didn't even read the directions until after I set it up.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Name is Karen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and I'm a Shopaholic

First of all, I have hated shopping for many years.  I have avoided going into stores and when I really must go to a store I pick a stand alone store enter, go directly to the needed item and then purchase the item and leave the store.  No comparison shopping nor going from store to store. 
Find it, buy it. 

It' as simple as that.


Amazon has made shopping even simpler.  I am able to find a selection of items, read the supplied information and customer reviews before making a selection and purchasing all from the comfort of home while still in my slippers and jammies while drinking coffee. 

Now that is my kind of shopping.

For months I have actively avoided adding to my collection of stuff.  I have spent an incredible amount of time and energy disposing of my accumulated stash. Yet here I am on Amazon spending an inordinate amount of time shopping, buying and collecting new treasures for my new RV lifestyle.  I am not quite free from the constraints of my old lifestyle and already here I am accumulating more STUFF.

Granted there is a limited amount of items that can be stuffed into a 16 ft trailer but I need to shut down my shopping before there is no room for me.  I certainly can justify the purchases, (is this a red flag?) but it feels contrary to the value of simplicity that I'm striving for in my life . 

   Maybe It's gotten out of hand......

Do I need an intervention? 

P.S. In my next post, I'll share my, I can't live without purchases and you can decide if I have gone, over...

(thanks Google Images and Amazon, It's been fun.)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Blustery Last Day of Winter

I  lazily woke up to the weather report - It had been 17 degrees last night with a rain front on the way.  Now of course I had been getting my little home Lolita ready for the road and had taken off her winter coat to go get her new tires... So a rain front was not it my plans.  So it was up an at em for me....  But before I go into that... Here comes the sun!

      Wind, Frost, Sun, Clouds, Fog.... we have it all and it's now 22degrees.
 Whoa Boy!!

 Even the primroses and the pansies that I planted
were frosted last night.  I hope the warmth of the day perks them up.

I have trouble with my hands and feet when they get cold so spending time outside this morning is not something I'm looking forward to.  But it has to be done.  I spent an hour out in the cold trying everything I could think of to get the tarp on top of the trailer so I could get it tied down before the rain....

Tarp in a heap!

Nothing worked.... The Blustery wind would whip it off just as I got to the other side.  This is how it looked after an hour. 

In defeat, I marched into the house and sat on my hands to slowly warm them.  I was in agony.  

Warm weather sounds good right now.  In moments like this, I am reminded  why spending winters in Arizona sounds like a mighty fine idea!!

Throughout the morning, I went back out side and studied the problem.  I came up with several hairbrain ideas. The way I see it, if I am NOT staying in a campground or park,  I need to be able to do these these things all on my own.  There many not be people available to help so problems-solving these issues is important to my success as a solo traveler.  I certainly have the determination... sometimes it just takes a while to figure it out.  

 At least today if I can figure this tarp situation out I at least have all the resources available at my house and then I will know what I need with me.  It is part of the trade off when you have a vintage trailer.  You have to figure out the repairs and how to make the systems work even when it is difficult.

I interviewed several people to take care of my lawn while I am adventuring.  The company I decided on came today and we did a walk through of what I needed done before I can leave and he gave me an estimate.  Like all estimates it is more than I hoped it would be but I am confident he will do a good job.  He will come next Monday with his sprinkler man and we will get the sprinkler system up an running and they will power rake the yards and get the flower beds cleaned out.  One more thing checked off the to do list!!  

Yesterday, I had two house showings about the time I needed to fix dinner.  Eating out wasn't in my plans but it was the way it worked yesterday.  So today I made sure I fried up some pork ribs and put them in the thermal cooker in some barbeque sauce and cooked up some fresh carrots for dinner.  I felt quite clever... Dinner was cooking away in their separate pots within the thermal cooker and I set the whole cooker into a cupboard.  No-one would ever know that dinner was cooking so when they left at 5:30, dinner was served.   
It is amazing to think of where all the time goes in a day.  I still had the trailer tarp to contend with.  I folded the tarp with accordian pleating and then let the wind pull it to the front of the trailer.  It took several attempts but eventually I made it work.

It was difficult but I did it. 

It may not be pretty, but at least it is covered. I know I will get better with practice.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Getting Lolita Ready to Roll

New tires are the order of the day.  The tires were on Lolita (a vintage trailer) when I bought her 4 years ago.  While the tread is nearly new, I have no idea how old the trailer tires are and I don't want to take a chance of a blow out so new tires it is. I recently found a couple of hub caps to replace the lost one on the trailer.  Cleaned and polished with a fresh coat of paint, I took them along to be put on after the new tires were installed.

I decided to go with Les Swab Tires as there are so many in the west and they have such good customer service.  Once I had a dead battery and they came and gave me a jump start for no charge.  I didn't even have Les Swab tires on my truck at the time.  They really know how to treat their customers.  They made a believer out of me.

Due to snow season coming to a close, the tire store was really hopping.  They said it would be a 3 hour wait.  Since I hate the smell of tire stores.  I went out into Lolita and busied myself trying to make order of chaos.  Only people who live in small places can know how quickly order can turn to a complete disaster.

In about two hours they were done and with the new hub caps in place we were on our way although a bit poorer. Then I was off to get propane.  With two tanks filled I was home to park the trailer behind the fence in its little home.  My neighbor wasn't home so I actually backed her up and through the fence with only a foot and !/2 on each side.  I didn't have extended mirrors or back up cameras or a flagger.  It was a miracle!!!!  Here is the proof!  

By the time I got home one of the hub caps was missing.  I retraced my path, but no luck.  Fortunetly I had bought a spare so I put it on myself and now it looks good again.... but who knows how long it will stay there.

With no showings for the day, I decided a little shopping was in order.  I am in need of a good ice chest and of course extended mirrors so a little shopping it is.  There is a Camping World and 3 huge RV lots and service centers within a 3 mile radius plus a Cabala's and 3 more sporting goods stores.  That should keep me busy for days! 

I only made it to two stores for today, Camper World and Cabela's.  I did manage to purchase the extender mirrors at Camper World and they installed them for free.  (It could have been hours for me to figure it out - if at all)  They certainly have a lot of gadgets! On top of that I got this complementary bag.

How cool is that!!

Living the lifestyle says it all!

Normally I do most of my shopping on Amazon but....

                                                   Hey this is fun!  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Rollercoaster Rides and Rants

Welcome to my world.....I'm riding the real estate roller-coaster.

It's up,up, up the coaster, cleaning, projects, dusting to prepare for showings, banished from the house, then waiting for feedback.   With the feedback comes the down, down, down.  "To much that still needs to be done", "the neighbors junk cars a garbage strewn yard" and "there is horse poop in the pasture".  Really REALLY, Imagine finding horse poop in the pasture.  For heavens sake, what were you expecting on a horse property.    I think I'm getting to a point that I don't even want to hear the feedback.  I have pretty much done all that I can in the house.  The yard needs more attention and certainly needs more spring weather to get it accomplished.

Every buyer doesn't need to love it like I do.  I only need one buyer.  Patience has never been a virtue that come easily to me.

I'm certainly grateful for your supportive comments.  You don't know how encouraging they are to me.  Living solo, I do all the planning, all the work and I do it without support or encouragement of a partner when my I'm tired or my spirits are lagging.  You have picked me up and have been tremendously helpful to keeping my motivation in gear and moving forward.  I couldn't have gotten this far with you each of you.

I can see a list of things to do when banished from the house while it is being shown is necessary.  Sometimes I don't have more than an hours notice so the house needs to be ready as well as a to go bag of items I might need while gone.  I take my lap top and kindle with me so if I don't know what else to do I can spend some time at a WIFI spot and do updates on the computer or read.  Mostly though I want the time to be used for errands that will move me closer to the house selling or getting ready for my trip.

On one of my first banishment, I was driving down a substantial arterial road with four lanes and a median turn lane when the car in front of me slammed on their brakes.  While I could not see the problem I slammed on my brakes as well.  This can then proceeded to DRIVE AWAY.  As I proceeded forward I was able to see what was in the road.  A toddling baby!!  I would guess him to be about 15 months old with a diaper and nothing else on.  (It was 40 degrees.) I again slammed on my brakes and moved my truck into the next lane.  Through open my truck door and jumped out and scooped up the baby.   He was 1 foot from my bumper.   He had a sister who was following him who I estimated to be about 2 !/2 years old. (and was fully dressed).  I asked her where she lived and she couldn't or wouldn't talk.  So I went door to door in a little trailer park asking if anyone knew these children.  Two other cars behind me stopped also and we eventually found their home, three trailers from the busy road.   A man answered the door claiming the children, he said, "She keeps unlocking the door."  I was stunned!!  If she kept unlocking the door wouldn't you find a different lock... door handle cover or put furniture in front of the door to prevent an escape?  One of the ladies who also stopped, called the police to investigate the situation.  I was so shaken that I was unable to drive so I sat on the side of the road until I was calm enough to drive.

What was the driver in front of me thinking that they could just drive away?
Do these parents not understand the incredible gift and responsibility of  these children?
Just what kind of world do we live in?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What a Day!!

Be forwarded, today is a mixture of highs and lows that come with my life.

I woke up and proceeded with my morning routine, a little coffee, a little news, a little catching up on blogs and email all while lazing around in my jammies.  I was sitting at the computer when I heard pounding coming from the front yard.   This is what I found...

I have a sign

I came back in to a telephone call from the realtor and while we talked two calls came in to her wanting to see my house. So on the day it hit the multiple listings I had two showings the first in just three hours.  I guess this means I must get dressed and the house looking its best before I get out of here.    I was immediately flooded with crashed with memories of unfinished tasks and a very short time to finish. Sheri, my realtor stopped by with the finished fliers for the box and then I was off to the garage to finish up.  I still have two piles.... one destined for disposal, donation of give away and the other items for the trailer.  Some that will make it into the trailer others probably not.  How creative do you suppose my packing skills are?

Here are some more pictures of the house that I haven't posted.


Family Room

back yard barn and pasture

                                                         View from the front windows

There were two viewing on the first day.

We were able to get feed back from the parties realtor.
They loved the house..... they hated the neighbors yard.


I can't blame them. 
Here is the bad news....
           This is the house next door.

There are 7 abandoned cars, 2 boats and 2 RV's and a trailer in the front yard loaded with garbage.

 Who wants to live next door to a junk yard?

I know I don't.
They also have 4 pit bulls that bark every time anyone goes outside.

I have put so much time focusing on what I can improve but there are some things I have no control over.

I will just have to wait and see how it shakes out.  It is just day 1.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

My Birthday Bash

Not exactly a wild party, but a fun family gathering with good food!!

 We met up at Prospectors Bar and Grill.  A wonderful family establishment with a truly western flair.

Two of my daughters, their families and my Auntie were able to come for a Sunday afternoon dinner. 

The wonderful waitstaff provided crayons and paper so the kiddo's stayed busy and really seemed to enjoy themselves.
Dad and four busy boys!

What birthday would be complete without a birthday cake.  Auntie thought of everything and of course it was chocolate, my favorite.  One of my life slogans is, If it is not chocolate, it is not worth having.    This cake was chocolate on chocolate with raspberry filling.  (Note I'm only 26!!)

Birthday Gift Stash!!

Gifts including a walking stick, pepper spray, sunscreen, lipgloss, trail snacks, firstaid kit and a tiny roll of TP.  Great items to include in my hiking vest!  Look out.....I'm ready for a hike! 

One last pause for a stop at the honey bear for a peppermint and we are off!

It was a very good day!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Marathon Day

Yesterday if you will remember was the day for the photographer to take the pictures of the house for the sale flier and on line adds.  My day started at O dark thirty where I raced through the final preparations feeling less then confident that I would finish all the items on my work list.

The carpet installers arrived at 8:00 AM to add the last of the trim work and try to fix the cable tv connections that had been dismantled when they installed the carpet on Tuesday.  The trim looks great but the cable is not operating correctly.  But it is not worth a fuss or a Comcast service call.  I  am still planning to leave at the end of March for Utah.  That is a bit fuzzy as a quick sale could bring that plan to a screeching halt.  With my luck, I'll get to Utah and set up a great base camp and then the house will sell.  It would be hard to be upset with that outcome though.  I am ready for an adventure and need some down time so time will tell.

The carpet installers finished in about an hour including a huge favor for me.  They moved my huge solid oak entertainment center to the garage so the dining room was ready for final staging. I was extremely grateful for their help as I was not able to find anyone who could do that for me.  After they left it was back to work for me....

After another two hours of work, I was feeling frazzled and frantic that I would not be finished before the 3:00 deadline.  The doorbell rang and I remember muttering to myself, "Now who is that?"  I opened the door to my Auntie who was holding a bucket of cleaning supplies.  She greeted me, with a warm " Show me what to do!!"  Bless her heart she vacuumed and dusted the entire upstairs and lower level of the house.  I finished the final staging and cleaning outside.

The only downside is a lot of crapola got tossed into the garage..... another item on the to do list.... DAMN!!

The Photographer and Realtor arrived early at 2:30...  the realtor helped me move my trailer Lolita out of the driveway and we cleaned the driveway!!  It was a gorgeous sunshiny day so even though the landscape isn't green yet, the photo's should present the house in a favorable light.  After the photos, I signed the contract for the real estate listing and I collapsed on the couch to watch my favorite basketball team, the Gonzaga University bulldogs who are ranked number 1 in the nation.  While I was still working I was a guest speaker in a number of undergraduate and graduate education classes for Gonzaga so the team is near and dear to my heart.

So remember, the cable fiasco....  It seems the high interest due to the #1 ranking of Gonzaga moved the game to prime time on ESPN.  With no cable TV and no energy to move from the couch I missed the game.  But the Bulldogs didn't disappoint.  They easily won without my help.  I will have to save a little energy on game days to make it to a sports bar and watch the Gonzaga games.

Well that was it.  
I was one tired puppy....

  The house is officially on the market......