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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Modifying the Mattress

Last July we bought a new mattress, first one in many years, as tends to happen.  After Mike's typical thorough research (I usually let him be the shopper, cause he's much better than I am at it), we ended up at Innomax in Denver.  They make their own mattresses and if you visit their showroom you can try out about every kind of mattress you can think of...  And when I say "try out" I mean it cause they give you a pillow and let you "sleep" on any one you might be interested in for about 15 minutes.  Fun, an informative visit.  We came home with a Memory Gel Mattress.  We hadn't anticipated buying that day, so we went down in the BMW, but have no fear, the mattress fit in our backseat, compressed and rolled up.

That was July, making a 20 year investment.  Then in October we decided to move into an RV full time.  Neither of us wanted to give up our mattress.  Many RV's have a smaller than normal bed size.  A standard Queen is 60x80.  RV Queens are 60x75 or 74, 5 or 6 inches shorter.  But you can get a full size queen bed in some, so that became one of our criteria in selecting our RV, and indeed that is what we bought.

So a few months later, when we went down to pick up the RV at Josh's house, imagine our surprise to realize that when the slide with the bed comes in, the mattress fits 8 inches under the bedroom closet.  That mattress is 8" thick.  Our mattress while not too long, nor too wide, at 12 inches was too thick!




So.. we were unsure how to make it work, and both Mike's and my brain were each spending some time each day trying to solve the conundrum.  Neither of us considered just keeping the mattress that came with the RV as an option.

 My first thought was to cut the last 8 inches off, from the bottom up about 10 inches or so, then folding the section back over top of itself.  One downside of this option was that when the slide was in, the bed would be 16 inches shorter, rather than 8 inches that the closet alone makes it.

Mike had the idea to put a 2x6 on the top of the foot of the bed and another on the bottom, then clamp the two together to squish the bed down, after all it had come compressed in a roll that fit into our car!  I wish I had pictures of that experiment, but you can imagine.  As good of an idea as it was, the mattress came popping out on both sides of the 2x6, making it difficult to be effective... Plus it would require us to carry and store the hardware.

Thinking that the mattress might be easier to squish 8 inches out the the length, than it is to squish 6 inches out of the thickness (10% squishing vs 50%).  We experimented with wrapping the perimeter with a ratchet strap and cranking it down, which was difficult to keep in place, and sort of squished the corners making the mattress an odd oval shape, but not so much the length.  Again, sorry, no photos.

I also was unsure if any of these methods would damage the integrity of the mattress.  I decided to call Innomax and see if they had any bright ideas.  Well, it took a few days to get the right question to the right guy, and in the end I decided to stop by and discuss it with them, and perhaps take a look at the nifty models they had showing the construction of the mattress.  They did not have models of the construction for me to look at, but they had a video.  Also, they had been brainstorming, and had a suggestion.  They suggested we get a "Turkey Carver" (electric knife) and take the cover off, then slice from the foot of the bed at roughly 6 inches from the bottom, the full length of the blade.  Then flip the mattress over an slice down to the cut, Effectively cutting a 10x6 chunk out of the bottom of the mattress at the foot of the bed.  Then, with the piece out, the mattress would droop down, allowing the mattress to slide under the closet.  We could save the chunk (most likely in our shower), and when the slide goes out, we can lift the foot of the bed and stick it in.  Most importantly the guy said the mattress integrity would be fine.  If we didn't like the result we could always glue back in the chunk and it would be good as new!

I left there and went off to find a Turkey Carving Knife.

Mike picked one up Friday afternoon following my visit, and Saturday morning we work up early, ready for the challenge.  After flipping the mattress over and slitting the cover, we found out the first layer of foam was 7 inches thick!  Perfect!  When we stuck the knife into the joint, we found it was only glued at the perimeter.  We just pealed the layer back, and cut it off at 16 inches from the foot of the bed, perhaps more than we needed, but we wanted to insure the drooping.













The whole project ended up being simpler than we thought and droops plenty to fit below the closet.  With the piece installed we can't even tell anything was done.  One more project completed toward our full time RV status.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saying Goodbye to Fairplay

This will be the last post from Fairplay, CO... at least from 680 Castello.  We have really enjoyed our time in Fairplay.  We have been here 3 years to the day, and experience a ton of personal/relationship/and professional growth.  We are not the same people that moved to this town of 600 people. South Park.  Elev., 10,000 feet (3050 meters).  Ok, I'm getting nostalgic and weepy just thinking about it.

If you recall we ended up in the RV because finding land that was perfect was difficult.  We did find one piece that we LOVE just north of Fairplay, and at the time I said if the seller came down $15,000 I'd buy it, hands down.  Well, on January 1 we took my sister and brother-in-law, Monica & Dave, out to see it and low and behold, the owner had lowered the price $10,000... Oh well, we had already committed to the RV lifestyle, and our cash was depleted... And more importantly we agreed not to commit to one place until we experience the country for  years.  SO, while I fantasize about coming back to Fairplay when we are done RV'ing... truth is, that land will be sold, we don't have a lot of close friends to bring us back, and it snowed yesterday (April friggin 22nd)!  Packing the RV has been made more difficult by the cold weather, and both of us are looking forward to being able to avoid these COLD temperatures (20 this morning)!  We may just never look back.

My footprints in the snow this morning going out to get clothes from the RV to wear.
So instead we look forward!  Moving into a house on wheels 5 days from now.

We had 2 garage sales this month.  First one was to be at home but got snowed out, so the following weekend we went down to Monica's house in Berthoud, north of Denver, and decidedly warmer!  While they worked on their garden, Mike and I had a garage sale and sold a TON of stuff.  We went down with a car packed full and a trailer packed full, came home with a car full but an empty trailer.  We are having to be ruthless, but it is much more gratifying to thing someone will appreciate our stuff, than to think that we are just dumping it.  Because this is good stuff... things we would be keeping if we had a house to keep it in.  We have made the decision if it is replaceable (ie, not sentimental, nor difficult to replace), we would not store it and add to our storage burden.  The gun safe has to be stored, so we will have to have storage, but will be trying to keep that to a minimum.  Items like my sewing machines... while I'd like to have them with me, it is not practical with the frequency I use them, So I have decided to store them and save up the sewing projects for the time when we are in Albuquerque (where our storage unit will be).

Anyhow, while in Berthoud Monica was also celebrating her birthday, another reason to visit.  She planned an afternoon tea at a local tea house, followed by a visit to the Leanin' Tree museum which is going to be closing down soon after 70 years, and then followed by a woman coming over to teach us how to make Pysanky Eggs.  What a wonderful afternoon it turned out to be.  If you get a chance and are in Boulder, be sure to visit the Leanin' Tree before October 2017.

In the sculpture garden outside Leanin'Tree



















Pysanky Eggs
The following weekend we had a garage sale in Fairplay.  We held it on one day only, thinking the population would not support it.  But in the end we had a steady stream of people, (who were excited to see a garage sale in our little town.. since I guess everyone thinks it's too small).  And we ended up doing almost twice the business!  So much that I thought we don't have anything left for a third garage sale in Albuquerque next month that we were planning... BUT of course, since then we keep finding more things and adding them to the pile!  We will have a garage sale in Albuquerque next month.  In the meantime we are keeping a table with FREE stuff outside.  It's amazing the people that will stop.



So the month was highlighted by garage sales... Sad but true.  I did go square dancing to my club, mostly to say goodbye.  I went a second night to see my friend who was calling from Tucson, Rick Gittelman.  Love dancing to Rick because he is very creative with his calling.  And I went into Denver for a dance one night, to dance at the club Plus.com, a club I've been trying to dance with for a few years... Nothing like moving to help you get all those things done that you wanted to do for years.  I also went to yoga for the first time in a long time and will be going to water aerobics this week... again to say goodbye.

Rick and I
And yesterday I finally finished my office in the RV.  Yay!  I am going to love it!  I knew Mike would come through, but it was an exercise in patience for me, as this was the most important thing for me in the RV.  We converted the passenger seat to an office for me, when you rotate the seat to the rear.




Today I got out for a short moment to pick up a geocache, near that property I mentioned above.  Beautiful day, really great cache (one of my favorites), and as I drove I soaked it all in...  Goodbye Fairplay, Colorado!  You are truly beautiful.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Our Maiden Voyage and Pneumonia

Well, I made a vow to start writing more regularly... Then... well.. nothing happened!  I so admire those people that blog consistently even when nothing is happening in their lives.

I'm sure that I've mentioned that funding has completely changed January 1, for my team at IBM.  For the past 5 years we were fully funded, meaning we could help people at no cost to them.  So of course there were lots of requests for support, but now we have to actually support ourselves, so anyone asking for support will have to pay our department for that support, obviously the dynamic changed!  Also in the middle of it I took on the role of coordinating work for the North American team.  Or in this case, coordinating the "lack of work".  So things have been challenging and slow at work, but finally are starting to pick up.  ON the bright side, I didn't travel yet this year and instead have had the opportunity to focus on downsizing our life.  Carrying on the work from previous posts we are now really seeing a dent in our "stuff".

But it was really hard to decide what to keep, not knowing for sure what would fit in the RV... SO, Mike noticed a 2 week break in his work schedule and the weather was supposed to be beautiful during that time.  We decided it would be a good time to take a trip down to Phoenix and pick up the RV.  Having it home would make it so much easier!  So Mike worked Saturday, with a LOT of people out sick, he got a private lesson.  Then Sunday early morning we headed out.
I'm in the BMW - following the 4-runner and trailer to Albuquerque.
First stop was Albuquerque for the night, where we delivered our BMW to my parents, who were in the market for just such a car.  Their Truck had been to big to fit in their garage at their old house, and therefore it had been broken into a number of times, ending up being stolen altogether.  A Car theft ring was busted in Albuquerque about 2 weeks later, and they got the car back, but it started them thinking perhaps they should sell the truck, that doesn't fit in the garage at the new house either.  ANYHOW, it all worked out for us.  Mike says the BWM is the first car he is sad to let go.  Nice to know my parents will be the ones we are letting it go to.  We also took the large pile of things that have been accumulating to take to the kids in Albuquerque.

We also had a trailer full of  stuff to deliver to Mike's son Josh in Phoenix.  Great opportunity to check in on the grandkids too!.  But as we pulled out of Albuquerque, Mike says, "I think I'm coming down with a cold, maybe you can drive".  That was Monday.  Tuesday and Wednesday he could do little but lie on the couch, I had caught the bug too, so we were both.. very docile guests!  On Wednesday night 10pm, Mike called me from the RV and said he thought he should go to the hospital.  This was huge because he does not believe in traditional medicine, has stated he would rather die than have to have his appendix out for example...  So anyway, obviously this was serious.

Mike wouldn't let me take his picture in the hospital...
but then again, he looked pretty much like this!


Carla, our daughter-in-law is a lab tech at a nearby hospital and recommended we go there, since she could help manage the care.  None of us thought he would be admitted, but he turned out to have Pneumonia and Flu, and they wanted to admit him and get the fluids and antibiotics started in the IV asap.  So the next 3 days he was in the hospital.  At 64 years old this is the first hospital stay he has ever had, and he thinks the sickest he has ever been, with the exception of Rhumatic Fever he had that kept him in bed for 4 months when he was 15.  Overall, it was a fairly tramatic experience.  We had planned to come home on Friday, but since he didn't get out of the hospital until Saturday, obviously that changed.




Sunday, he thought perhaps he could help Josh do a couple of things on the RV, but after he walked around it twice, he was exhausted.  So he was home and better, but not well.

About Killed Mike but this was all the energy he could muster...
... While josh got to have all the fun!!!  Thank goodness for Josh!
We decided to come home to Colorado Wednesday, and actually left Thursday night, on our maiden voyage!  After hooking up the trailer and getting the car on it, and saying our goodbyes, we drove about 2 hours and stayed in the Wal-mart parking lot in Payson, AZ.  Great thing about it, we were bringing our bed.  The next day was very long... didn't really push the RV, and we got home about 11:30pm.  I'm still recovering from the flu I got but Mike was too weak to drive, so I drove most the way... A little intimidating at first, but by now I'm pretty comfortable and we had no mishaps along the way!

The sunset was sure pretty as we got the car loaded to leave.

But it's easier to see the rig from this side

Out First night on the road... At Wal-Mart of course!
Now that we are home again, Mike and I can just focus on recovery.  It may take him a while.  He is still "As weak as a kitten" as he puts it.  But the RV is in the driveway, and we can start moving things in as we feel up to it.  The landlord has rented out the house already... AND they said they would likely buy any furniture we had left... Sweet!  And in 2 weeks I'm going to start traveling again.  Stay tuned.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Preparations

Brrr.  It's COLD in South Dakota.  So glad to be heading back to "warm" Colorado, even as the ski resorts in our neighborhood closed this week due to too much snow.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  As soon as the holiday festivities were over we started making progress toward our preparation for moving into the RV... Scanning, selling, and most importantly deciding where to  establish residency.

Since we don't own property and are not going to be full time in any location, we can choose our state of residency.  Some states have stricter requirements, other states have better or worse tax advantages.  Health insurance is another consideration although thankfully not a concern of ours.  After the research (and guidance from the blogs I'm reading most regularly like heathandalyssa.com and technomadia.com) it came down to South Dakota, Texas, or Florida.  Well, Florida is just too far away, Texas has a bit stricter requirements, it seemed like South Dakota was the obvious choice.

Many states have mail services, but  South Dakota has three we considered.  Primarily, I was interested in a service that scans the envelopes, then you get to log in, decide on a case by case basis if they should forward, shred, or scan and email the item to you.  That brought our options down to 2 in the state.  We settled on America's Mailbox, because Rapid City is closer, and more likely for us to visit than Sioux Falls.  So, we have a new address.  Please note:

514 Americas Way #8042
Box Elder, SD  57719

(Although our Colorado address will still be good until we are into the RV full time in May.)

Step 2:. This week we drove up to Rapid City.  We came up  Monday, to do business on Tuesday, and go home again Wednesday.  From our house in Colorado it is a 7.5 hour drive.  The weather was not cooperating, but we just needed to get it done, so Monday early we headed out.



We got to Rapid City early enough to stop by the mailbox place, finalize our account there, and talk to an insurance rep.  We found out that unlike Colorado, we don't need insurance before we register, so good news, we can shop around a bit more for up to 30 days before we buy insurance.  And we STILL had enough time to open a bank account on Monday.  Check, check, check.

Tuesday morning, after attending to some IBM work from the hotel room, we headed out to the DMV.  In a surprisingly efficient process, an hour later we had SD driver's licenses. 



Next we went over to the county building to register the RV.  There was a slight hiccup as they thought the previous title was issued without a conjunction (and or or) between the owners names and we thought we were not going to be able to get it done today... especially since the seller's husband is dead.  But it turned out to be an overlook on the title and it did say "or" so.. Phew, could get we done.  Check, check.  (Note to self... Always register cars, get loans etc, using Mike OR Phyllis to facilitate selling later, when one party may be absent for any reason.)

We had planned to register our two cars in SD, even though we plan to sell one. But both registrations are due soon, and we don't want to re-register in Colorado.  We were not excited to find out that you have to pay sales tax on any vehicle you register in SD, regardless of when you bought it.  You pay 4%, less and sales tax you already paid, if you can prove that.  Well.. Of course we weren't prepared to provide proof of the tax that we paid on the cars, 1 and 4 years ago.  So we did not check that box.  With that fact in mind, we have decided to get busy and sell the BMW before we have to reregister.  So all is good.  

After all the chores were done, we still had time to catch a showing of  "Rogue One".  And now we are on our way home, residents of South Dakota.

In the meantime, I've been working hard scanning stuff.  I've scanned all my slides (and threw them away.. Yeichs!), Burned the DVD's to hard drive and gotten rid of the DVDs.  I'm in the process of scanning the photo albums, and any loose photos I have.  I have scanned all news clippings that I've saved over the years, photographed the artwork I had saved from my youth (can't believe I've saved some of this stuff).  Although all these things do not take much room... I feel lighter already. We are also listing furniture, etc. on Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, and OfferUp.com.  Next weekend my sister, brother-in-law, and I, am heading to Albuquerque to help my parents move across town.  (Mike has to stay home to work).  I'm taking the trailer filled with furniture and item to give, or store at my families houses.   So we are making visible progress.



Yesterday walking into the movie theater,  Mike commented "Never in a million years would I have believed I would be a SD driver's license holder."  Well you know I would say, "Never say never!"

FOOTNOTE:  On the drive to Albuquerque, David (Monica's husband) says to me, "So, are you going to leave the trailer in Albuquerque?".. I said, "Well, coincidentally Mike told me jokingly as I was walking out the door this morning that if I found a buyer, I should sell it... But not sure how I could connect with a buyer."  Monica pipes up from the back seat and says, "Let's list it on Craigslist."  She proceeded to email Mike to get a description, pulled the photo off of this blog, listed it, and an hour later just as we were pulling into town had it sold.  Wow!!  Teamwork.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Closer to Reality

Celebration of Life - Charles Christopher 1938-2016
Over Thanksgiving weekend we went to my uncle's memorial in Columbus, OH. My mothers brother, Charlie Christopher, died October 4 and the family decided to have a Celebration of Life on the Friday after Thanksgiving. I was thankful that both my sisters, their families, and my parents could be there. Mike stayed home and did some renovation work for my sister, Monica, over the weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to see two of my cousins, one whom I haven't seen since childhood, and to meet their children and grandchildren. Overall it was a very nice day dedicated to a very nice man.

Mom






Thanksgiving
Since the memorial was on Friday, we had to travel on Thursday, so we delayed our Thanksgiving until Sunday. Our Thanksgiving day was very pleasant at Monica's house with great food and great company.






Las Vegas
About a week later, Mike and I headed out for Las Vegas. I went for work, Mike stayed in my hotel with me and spent his days out at the Frontsight Firearms Institute again. He took a defensive handgun refresher class and a four-day rifle class and enjoyed every minute of it. It was nice to have him with me for a change to meet my colleagues for the first time, and enjoy a little socializing with our friends in the area, we also took in a Penn and Teller show, and got a massage at my new favorite massage place. I twisted Mike's arm to go with me, but in the end he was very happy he went, and totally shocked when the girl walked on his back. He didn't think that happened in real life!

Dinner with the Timmermans


Christmas in Phoenix
Because by the end of this trip it was already so close to Christmas, we headed straight for Phoenix. We spent the week visiting Mike's son, Josh, and Carla, and babysitting for Kaylee (4) and Cody (1). A rare treat! Their life is pretty crazy hectic, so we didn't complicate it with too much activity, opting to stay home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, although the girls did get out for a night for dinner and to see the Russian Ballet perform "the Nutcracker" while the boys went out for dinner at a bar where coincidentally swing lessons were going on. Reportedly Cody monopolized all the ladies on the dance floor!
Christmas Morning
RV Shopping
Knowing that availability of RVs in Las Vegas and Phoenix would be better than in Colorado we did take the opportunity to do a lot of shopping and indeed found and bought our new home. We bought a 2010, class "A", 35-foot, Bounder motor home, with a bath and a half, gas engine, and less than 20,000 miles. It has the refrigerator we wanted, the tires we wanted, full-size queen bed, and is in great shape. It is almost too old, but at the limit, and the price was good too. The only thing it's really missing (in my perspective) was the bunkbeds that we intended to turn into an office, but we will build something in and I know that'll be a topic for a future blog post. 15 minutes after we bought it we saw another one that perhaps we like better, and was even cheaper, AND diesel, with a desk already in it (isn't that the way it always is)! But we had already given our word and frankly the one we bought is going to be fantastic.


So Mike had to drive it back to Josh's house, which was a bit intimidating. Of course he did fine, but he did comment that he thought there was probably a maximum of 1 inch on either side of the RV in the lane of bumper-to-bumper traffic. So while Carla and I took care of the children, cooked, and played games over the weekend, Mike and Josh got to mess around getting to know the RV. They were in heaven, especially Josh, who commented that this was his very favorite activity.

Albuquerque
Not being winterized, nor knowing what the roads or weather would be like, or the situation in our driveway, we decided to leave the RV at Josh's until we can figure a few things out. So Monday morning we headed on to Albuquerque per our original plans. We had dinner Monday night with my two girls and their significant others. They both worked on Tuesday, but Mike and I picked up some nice steaks and we had our Christmas celebration with them that evening. While in Albuquerque I got to see my Sister, Nancy's improvements to her new house, had lunch with a high school friend I hadn't seen in MANY years, and after that 4 hour lunch Mike opted not to join me for breakfast with my childhood, neighbor girlfriends, that I meet up with on most every trip to Albuquerque.  Although we stayed at my parents house, they were coming back from their holiday trip to California.  Our last night at their house, they also stayed at our house.  Since we were crossing paths as we each went home, we met up and enjoyed lunch together in Santa Fe.

Trailer
Short Albuquerque stay but we had to get back for Mike to start work on Friday. Getting home Wednesday gave us a day to rest... or perhaps buy a car hauler trailer which is the next thing on our list toward our RV goal. Mike had found the one before I even got out of bed in the morning. Was a good deal and just what we needed, so we drove down to a nearby town and bought it and hauled it home.

Happy New Year
Today, Friday, Mike starts work for his second year as a ski instructor at Breckenridge. Thankfully the snow picked up while we were gone and now the skiing should be pretty good. My sister, Monica, and David are coming up for the New Year's eve and Day and the Ropiski's will be joining us for games and Green Chili on New Year's Day. I for one am quite optimistic about 2017. I hope you all have a very wonderful year too.