Friday, June 24, 2016

Moving In to the RV

Before I tell you about the moving in process, I must warn you that I will not be providing a falsely cheery version of the facts. What you get is the real, and sometimes bitter, situation without any sugarcoating to make it easier to swallow. Some may call me negative but I prefer to think of myself as a realist.

It seems like we have been moving in to the RV for weeks but we'd really just been taking a few things out here and there to see how they fit and to start to clear out the house. The moving in process began in earnest this week, right in the middle of another heat wave. Temperatures in the Tucson area this month are the highest they have been in 20 years. Moving from a house, albeit a manufactured house, into an uninsulated RV has had me seriously questioning my sanity!

To avoid spending too much time outside during the hot part of the day - and for good reason considering that several people died from the heat here this week - we transferred our stuff from the house to the RV during the cooler morning hours. During the day, I worked on figuring out where to put it in the RV while my husband worked on the house getting it ready to sell. At the end of the day, we went through the house, gathering and sorting whatever would get moved the following day.

While I already understood that space was at a premium in the RV, I quickly discovered exactly what that means. It means that I don't get to keep everything I want to keep. As I sorted through load after load, many items got tossed into the donate pile. I've been by the local charity shop every day this week with donations.

Here is what the RV looked like last night. After taking the photos, I worked for several hours to clean up the mess but I want you to see what the real moving in process looks like.

I'm not actually a slob or a hoarder. It's just a difficult process getting moved in to a tiny space.

This is the view that greeted me when I came in the door. (I almost turned tail and ran!)

How is all this going to fit?!

Even the refrigerator is ridiculously crowded.

The freezer, too.  That black ice pack on the top shelf goes on my twisted ankle every night.

Someday I'll show you some 'after' photos. Right now, I'm too tired and it's time for ice cream.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Chile in a Hot Tin Can

Oh my gosh, people, it is so incredibly hot here right now! I just met some folks for craigslist sales and my car's thermometer read 107 degrees. There are heat warnings in place through Monday. Thank goodness we decided not to hold our final moving sale this weekend. We had planned it but had to postpone because the tow dolly for the car was delivered yesterday by a large freight truck that would not have been able to get to our driveway with a bunch of yard-salers parked in the way.

So, I keep hearing the same questions over and over: "When are you leaving?" One variation often seems to be "You're still here?!"

Yes, we're still here. Contrary to what some RV bloggers may imply, the transition process takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r! We bought the RV in August of last year and honestly thought we'd be out of here by late winter. What a fantasy that was. With all of the repairs and cleaning we had to do, we're lucky it's ready now. The condition of the RV was misrepresented, to put it nicely. Many, many repairs were necessary, including replacing a dry-rotted bathroom floor that had been subject to long-term leakage. Even the steel frame underneath had rusted out.

The cleaning has been just as time-consuming and infinitely more frustrating. Somehow, the sellers were able to disguise the fact that they had smoked in the RV. I am extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke but did not detect it when we went to look at it. The sellers did not smoke in our presence, either. It did not even occur to us to ask whether they were smokers. After we'd purchased it and driven it home, it sat closed up overnight. The next day when we sat inside, the smoke smell was overwhelming. Within 10 minutes, I was wheezing!

We have spent hundreds of hours cleaning the entire interior from top to bottom. With our new carpet cleaner, my husband went over the carpeted ceiling (carpet helps with condensation issues) multiple times to not only remove the smoke smell but to clean the grime. You can see the before and after in this photo with the yellowish square the last bit he had left to clean.

He removed and cleaned all of the blinds, which was a good step because they had to be restrung anyway. We replaced the bed. I have cleaned every hard surface inside the RV at least once, many of them twice (or more) as I worked out what solutions I needed to use to remove the odor. We ended up replacing the convection microwave because the smoke smell had permeated it so badly that it was not salvageable.

Visitors do not detect the tiny bit of lingering smell that is left and my husband thinks it's in my imagination at this point. I mostly do okay inside as long as there are exhaust fans running. Before we move in, we'll need to toss the pans of charcoal and baking soda sitting in every room, as well as in a few cabinets.

The exhaust fans are not an option today because of the heat. We'll have to run the generator in order to run the air conditioning units to keep it cool inside. Thank goodness we are not yet living in it, although if we were, we would be parked where we could plug into an outlet and run the A/C without the generator.

I did plan to continue loading the RV today but the heat changed my plans. Opening and closing the door frequently would let out too much of the cool air, just like for a refrigerator, so I am continuing to do final sorting in the house. More than half of the kitchen has been moved into the RV, a challenging process during which I had to let go of many items I wanted to take with us. We will not have the joy of grinding our coffee beans by hand or making pasta from scratch with the manual pasta machine. If I take those, I can't take food. What good do kitchen gadgets do if you have no food to prepare?!

The house is looking sparse. Today I literally sold the chairs out from under our rears so we are left only with the folding chairs purchased for the RV. The table holding the TV went last week and the totes that served as our temporary TV stand are going tomorrow. There is very little furniture left. What is left are piles of stuff to be sold or donated and piles of stuff to go in the RV. And, sadly, in the office, there are piles and piles of paper files that I still need to deal with. For every piece of paper I'm able to ditch, it seems like half a dozen more come to take its place. I suppose the next few days will force me to deal with this because it's just too hot to do much else.

If you are thinking about downsizing to the RV lifestyle, be sure to give yourself adequate time to get rid of just about everything you own. Most blogs devote a single post to the downsizing process. Perhaps those full-timers did not go through the angst that I have in giving up a houseful of possessions. I know it is all just "stuff" but it is MY stuff that I have spent years enjoying. Some of it is stuff that I made or my husband made, making it just a little bit harder to see go away. Just this week, we decided we really don't have room to take the long bike that he built for me.

He BUILT this bike for me from a pile of tubes ordered in the mail. It was gut-wrenching for me to decide not to keep it but the reality is that the RV lifestyle means limiting your possessions. Hard choices are necessary. Hopefully the pay-off will be worth it.