Little Tallapoosa Park, Carrollton, GA
Blog

Nomadic Status 0.9

Word is getting around about this maybe-crazy adventure we have planned. Nearly every time we talk with someone who knows we plan to sell everything and live, work and travel in our RV, they want to know when. Like, a specific date.

I wish I could give them and everyone else a date. Truth is, there are at least a dozen major variables in the “When will we hit the road?” equation. Well, there are for us, anyway. Money obviously lets us easily solve all kinds of problems.

That is probably why the universe has decided we’re not to have an inordinate amount of it.

Struggle builds brains. And character. Yeah, I’m being a bit of a smartass and I’d totally pick up a bag of money left lying on my doorstep. But challenges really do make us better problem solvers. Better people, too – so long as we don’t become bitter about them.

From vengeful neighbors to health challenges and “special” dogs, to what we’re doing to earn the money to pay for all this, every one of our major obstacles is below. If you’re one of the “When are you leaving?” folks, this won’t get you much closer to the answer, although you’ll have a better grip on what all we have to do. Then you’ll understand why I wince when you ask that question 🙂

If you’ve gone through (or are considering) something similar, maybe you’ll find something to laugh – or groan – about.

S&B* Neighbors

The homes of the complaining neighbors, as viewed from our driveway, near the offending RV.

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did: A second anonymous complaint was lodged against us for the RV parked in our driveway – most probably by the neighbor next door to the original complainer.

I wonder if this new complainer ever complained about the humongous fifth wheel the original complainer repeatedly parked on the street in front of his house. But anyway…

The HOA president understands our situation, but this relatively petty matter has pushed him to:

  1. Ask that we remove the Dutch Star from the subdivision ASAP, and
  2. Turn over management of the homeowners’ association to a professional management company who will ensure compliance from all, for all the rules. Presumably including those the anonymous assholes many people repeatedly violate.

The Offending RV

We have secured storage a few miles away (adding yet another expense to the load, but anyway…) at a facility that won’t have an issue with us working on the RV on their premises provided we don’t impede others’ access to their spaces.

The HOA rules state that our RV can’t be in the neighborhood longer than 24 hours. If there’s work we can’t handle at the storage facility we’ll move the beast in and out of the neighborhood as needed, since we are living by the letter of the law now (as opposed to being primarily concerned with acting like considerate neighbors).

Then, instead of only two neighbors being able to merely glance at part of our Dutch Star as it sits quietly in our driveway, everyone within earshot will hear its 350 HP diesel engine twice every time we roll it into and out of the subdivision.

Everyone along the route to our house will see all 41 feet of it as we move through the neighborhood toward our house, and see it again when we head back out to the storage facility. Wouldn’t have thought the mere sight of an RV would be upsetting, but two people so far have said that it is, so it must be.

What’s more, all those in the vicinity will hear the melodic BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP of the backup alarm as we work to level it, and hear it again as we back out of the driveway to return it to the storage lot.

Click play if you need to be reminded about what this will all sound like.

It’s too bad that Sundays are pretty much the only day we have available to work on the RV.

To the neighbors who didn’t have a complaint about us, we’re genuinely sorry. Please come talk to us if you think there’s something we can do that will allow us to work on our RV without disrupting the neighborhood. If you wish, we’ll point you in the direction of the complainers’ homes, so you can thank them personally for the increased disruption.

Should go without saying, but if you’re one of those who complained, and you’re now furious because matters have in your eyes become worse: Sorry – NOT sorry.

The House

No, our house is not even listed yet. Our tentative plan is to list with a flat-fee realtor, after consulting with her about asking price vs. needed fixes. We might also try what our former cheapskate neighbor (Mr. Nice, who likely called the HOA on the neighbor who’s now giving us trouble) did. He stuck one “For Sale by Owner” sign out on the main road behind our subdivision and within a week he had a buyer.

We’ve emptied the house of half our stuff, at least. The place definitely looks as though its occupants are in transition. Or maybe living poverty. We can’t complete the purge just yet because, until we can move into our RV, we need things like a bed to sleep on, clothing storage, washer/dryer and more.

We’re getting close to having the RV in livable condition. But before we can move into it, we’ll have to pay for a spot to park it and hook it up. That’s another potentially large expense. Our friends Mark and Debbie live on a large parcel of land not too far from us, and they’ve offered us a spot that might work. It won’t have full hookups, but we could make do that way once it cools down enough that we wouldn’t need to run the air conditioners.

Home for sale in Douglasville
It’s a very, very, very fine house.

When all of the things, people and animals are out of the house, we can clean, paint and repair. It most definitely needs new carpet. There are dozens of other things needing attention, mostly minor, but a few that will cost at least a few hundred dollars a pop. The landscaping needs TLC it will not get as long as we’re the owners.

We had some minor roof damage and are waiting to see if we have enough to merit an insurance claim and/or replace the roof. If so, that would be a blessing, albeit one I’ve paid for throughout my adult life (I’ve never filed a homeowner’s insurance claim).

Flaws and all, though – the place has great curb appeal. There are several really nice houses in our neighborhood, but ours has the nicest lot and, I think, the best design.

I’m looking forward to having someone with the market experience to know where we’d be throwing away money by not fixing/updating a thing, vs. wasting money on something with a lousy ROI. I’ve watched plenty of house flipping shows on HGTV, but unlike those people we won’t be borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade. We just want to know the best way OUT, ASAP, without giving the house away.

Health

Brian

Over 60 pounds lost. Plateaued of late due to inconsistent walking, but still at it.

Sleep deprived. I can’t even be funny about this. Laurie, our 14-year-old Greyhound, wakes him up nearly every morning around 3:30 AM. Sometimes earlier. I almost never hear her, and he seldom goes back to sleep.

I don’t know what to do with either of them :/

Brian having fun with plumbing after swapping out the RV’s shiny gold faucets. At his former weight he wouldn’t have fit in the bathroom!

Another health thing I need to publicly high-five Brian about is smoking. Or actually, not smoking or using any tobacco for at least a couple of years, and now being nicotine free.

After Brian had joined the Army and was out on his own and away from his chain-smoking parents (something we had in common 😦 ) he decided it’d be a good idea to start smoking. He had a horrible habit for over 25 years.

Because he was ashamed of it, I think, he looked at smoking as an all or nothing proposition. It wasn’t until our friend Brenda mentioned trying vaping that Brian agreed to try that instead of cigarettes. Well, after she and I talked about it and I nagged him. It’s my job 🙂

There’s been a lot of debate about vaping; some people claim it merely substitutes one addiction for another. They’re only partly right, and they may or may not have an agenda. My only agenda is smoking kills you, doofus, and you can never be sure whether it’ll be the slow death or the more rapid one. You don’t really get to choose.

Inhaling vapor is significantly less unhealthy than inhaling smoke, and unlike cigarettes you can control the amount of nicotine you receive. Unless you are into some of those stupid flavors that have chemicals that cause popcorn lung, vapor is very safe – especially when compared to the cornucopia of crap in cigarettes.

Brian gradually worked his way down from vapor containing 24mg of nicotine to 0mg, then completely quit last month. I would be okay with him vaping if he felt like he needed it, but am glad he’s finally nicotine free. I’m at least ten times as happy that he’s tobacco free.

We lost three of our four parents as a result (directly or indirectly) of cigarette smoking, and three of four also had COPD. That’s not how we want our story to end.

Teresa

Should I write about mental health? About how this situation with the neighbors has made me lose sleep, and feel as though I’m a prisoner in some kind of unstable DMZ?

Nah, let’s focus on the positive, or at least the things I can inject a bit of snark into. Anyway, Karma and I are besties, and she’s due to visit any time now 🙂

So, fat-wise, I don’t have a weight loss number in mind, but I know I’d like my saggy little belly pouch and squishy hips to go away. Whatever number is necessary to subtract the fat pounds and add the muscle pounds is OK by me.

Brian tells me “You know, it’s part of getting older and probably not going to go away.”

“The HELL!” I say. “Older” is just an excuse, I think. Besides, I’m not that old >:-[ Turd.

Yes, age slows you down if you haven’t maintained a good fitness level. But it’s always possible to be more fit. I’ll keep fighting, keep doing my badass daily workouts. I may still be a little squishy, and still have aches and pains, but I can see the difference in the mirror.

An area where I continue to struggle is RSIs, or Repetitive Strain Injuries. The workouts help strengthen my arms, shoulders and neck so that they’re more resistant to pain. Having the right setup for work is crucial. But since I write, and sometimes work on websites, and am too often fixated on my phone, it is hard to keep from overuse.

I should probably get off social media altogether :/

But if it wasn’t for Facebook or Instagram I would have very little social interaction right now. I don’t just post stuff there and leave (which would save my neck and fingers). When I stray into overuse territory it’s always because I’ve spent too much time alone and I feel a need to connect to the outside world.

I’m an introvert, so I don’t need a lot of actual face time with friends. I often let the alone time get to an extreme, though, before I do anything about it. Then I don’t feel like I can call a girlfriend and arrange a coffee meeting on five minutes’ notice, so I hit Facebook. Or Instagram. See how everyone’s doing. Make snarky comments. Read articles about fascinating subjects I’ve no real use for. Or take the latest dumb Facebook quiz and share my results with all the people I mostly never actually talk to.

And somehow I wound up talking about mental health anyway. Gaaahhhh…

Laurie the Senior Greyhound

Laurie the Greyhound
She may be an old gal, but she’s still a sassy one.

As mentioned above, she’s still waking Brian up in the wee (pun intended) hours on a daily basis. And we’re still carrying her up and down the stairs every few hours so she can relieve herself.

She had a couple of muscle spasms early last week, but they didn’t seem to cause her any pain or do more than irritate her as they continued. She’s fully alert when the twitching goes on. Sometimes when she’s excited she’ll try to run on those shaky legs. Not for long, but it scares the bejeezus out of me.

John Lee the Crazy Greyhound

I’m working with John Lee using a Treat&Train device. He’s progressed to the exercise shown in the video below – Say Please by Sitting. He sort of already did this, because he figured out a long time ago that when he couldn’t get what he wanted by acting crazy.

The most important thing about training is consistency. We pretty quickly got to step six, but this has not been a good week for consistency so he’s been stuck here for several days. Next week looks rough too, but we’ll keep at it.

It’s easy enough for me to ignore John Lee when he’s behaving badly so I don’t reinforce barking or jumping, but that behavior will not go over well when we have to be in RV parks.

Bidness

Ott Gun Works

Still going strong & supporting the entire Ott/Rosche enterprise. However, Brian is as eager to hit the road as I am. If you want work done go see him soon.

We don’t have an exact timeline to wind down the business because it’s just one of many variables in this whole nomadic equation. If I had to guess I’d say three to six months. Please. God. I mean, not that I’m telling the king of the universe what to do. Exactly.

the simpler web

I surrendered my county business license (the one that does nothing for me), and did not renew my LLC. I’m open to doing small projects for good people, and for real-time help/coaching via video.

I’ll probably continue website design in some form when we hit the road. God knows there are hundreds of campgrounds with horrible websites.

Question is, is that how I want to live my life?

Well, if they’re good to work with and they get a lot of value out of my services, then we both win (I like to eat and wear clothes) even if it’s not what I ultimately want to be doing.

If I can’t make enough of a difference for a business because they’re self-sabotaging or resistant to change – which is often the case with the mom & pop operations many campgrounds are – then no, I don’t want to waste my time or theirs.

Except…I kinda need a job right about now. Or, an income, at least. 🙂

OnSite Firearm Appraisal

If you’re new to Wandering Porcupine, you may not know that OnSite Firearm Appraisal is a service we hope will support us once we’re on the road.

Brian has done many appraisal jobs, but they’ve gone under the Ott Gun Works banner. We currently have the ability to go anywhere within a reasonable drive, provided there’s a certain minimum (which we haven’t yet completely nailed down). When we are in the RV full time we’ll need to figure out a strategy so we can be where people need us. Definitely open to suggestions if you have experience with mobile business.

We’re beta testing a limited version of the service that customers can order online. If you’re an RVer who’s used David Lester for RV Pricing and Values, the OnSite Firearm Appraisal Expert Opinion is along the same lines.

Brian knows enough about your gun – or the one you want to buy – to tell you if it makes sense to upgrade it, if the price is fair, what the market’s like for it; basically anything you’d need to know to keep from spending money foolishly.

This Expert Opinion is $35, but Wandering Porcupine readers who’d like to try it can use the code LAUNCH10 to get $10 off.

Right now sales from the OnSite website go into a separate account I control, so if many people use it, it’d almost be like I had a job. I mean, I did build the website, so it’s not like I didn’t earn it. Some of it 🙂

Writing

At the moment about all the time I can carve out for writing is the 8-10 hours per week I spend on this blog. I expect that to change once we sell the house and I have fewer things to do.

Wandering Porcupine is still pretty tiny, but its steady growth makes me happy.

I’ve made a commitment to publish one “meaty” post per week here on Wandering Porcupine. That commitment provides the reason I long needed to establish a daily writing practice. Since I actually sat my butt down and started writing here regularly, a small but growing audience has shown up to read it.

I really don’t know where, if anywhere, I’m going with this blog. But it’s super cool to have you along – thanks!

The one part of my writing that’s paying off at the moment is my self-published books. Well, one of them is, anyway. But only about $20-$40 per month. I picked a super-small niche topic for my first effort, so even though it’s one of the best selling books on Amazon in that category, I only sell maybe 10 or 15 books per month.

Still, that first effort is the reason I now know the ropes of self-publishing well enough that when I have more time to devote to writing I ought to be able to dive right in. Until then, if you are interested in making your own yogurt (or dairy-free/vegan yogurt), I’m your girl. Don’t everybody leave at once 😛

Actual Nomadic Behavior

We’re getting closer, but this is a process that’s both expensive and lengthy (it’s lengthy mostly because it’s expensive). Finally, though – we have a date for our first excursion!

After making the rounds of every campground within a reasonable driving distance (and seeing some really ratty looking places), we found a nice little park out in Carrollton, GA, about a half hour from our house. We’ve reserved the week of Independence Day (our favorite holiday, of course) there so we can try out RV life under what will be somewhat typical conditions for us.

Little Tallapoosa Park in Carrollton, GA

We’ll only take one car, which is all we’ll have when we get on the road. Brian plans on keeping the shop open (except for the 4th) and driving in every day. While he’s working at the shop, I’ll be at the campground figuring out how to cook in the RV, get WiFi to work and take my impaired Greyhounds out to do their business.

I can’t wait!

*S&B: “Sticks & bricks” – RVer lingo for traditionally-built houses.

You know there ain’t no rest for the wicked
Money don’t grow on trees
We got bills to pay we got mouths to feed ain’t nothing in this world for free
We can’t slow down, we can’t hold back though you know we wish we could
You know there ain’t no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes for good

4 thoughts on “Nomadic Status 0.9”

  1. You are coming along. It is a tremendously long process, longer than you ever expect. I’m hoping to be out of my house and home state in the next 12 weeks or so. I’ve been planning and preparing for 3 years, and still feel like another one wouldn’t hurt. Hang in there. So excited for you and I hope to meet you on the road at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Debbie 🙂

      Y’know, we can plan and prepare ad infinitum and we’re still going to miss and misjudge things. When I say “we” I mean you, too!

      I’m usually an overplanner. Like your decision about the Ollie’s twin beds, though, things that are well thought out often fall apart in practice. I’m eager to swap our neighbor/house problems for RV life so we can see what actually works — and change what doesn’t a helluva lot more easily than we can here in suburbia.

      I’m excited to see your Oliver, and yes — I’d love to meet up one day and get the grand tour from its owner!

      Like

  2. I have two thoughts right off the bat, and several others brewing but we need to get together and talk soon to cover all those. 🙂
    1) I thought “food truck!” as an obvious model for mobile business operations…you could get some good ideas from that space, like Tweeting where you’ll be so people know you’re coming and can meet you there with their guns to be appraised. If that’s allowed. I suppose you’d have to know if it’s allowed, like food trucks do, before you park and sell on the spot. Still, that sounds fun. And I’m afraid of guns, and still I think it sounds like a party every day. Here are others for your reading pleasure: https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/226734
    http://www.kiplinger.com/slideshow/business/T049-S001-8-intriguing-businesses-on-wheels/index.html
    And I have one more idea to contribute on my own, which is merchandise that gun owners might like, that is ancillary, not directly related. Like, not gun supplies, but clever tee shirts and cute hats or quiet snacks for hunters or whatever. There must be stuff. And selling on Amazon, is that still a thing? Can you have a shop directly tied to your new biz?

    2) The 4th of July plan is awesome, and as you know, it’s my favorite holiday too. We will be in Summit County Colorado this year, in a VRBO place, with my daughters joining us. As I’m looking around for what we’ll do and where we’ll go, I am reminded that there are many places where people of like mind gather that you could take yourselves in that RV, if you had a business reason to do it. So at first I was like, could you sell yogurt to music festival attendees, and could I help you do that? Then, modifying that a bit, what I’m thinking is giant flea markets or craft shows, or gatherings like the bikers do in Sturgeon, or any number of counties or cities that have expos where you can set up (for a fee of course) to do your thing/sell your stuff.

    PS — Now I’M the president of OUR HOA, and I feel for yours. And you. I just went through this with a neighbor’s kids’ plumbing truck. It’s a large company truck with advertising and those (along with RVs…and by the way, repair work being done on vehicles) are not allowed in driveways here, either, So he just gets to be a 21 year old plumbing apprentice, gets a truck to drive each day, but has to find a place to park it (for 200 bucks a month), because another neighbor has had to do the same for his business truck. It sucks, and all I could tell the guy was I guess we don’t know if the new family moving in has a competing plumbing business, or if the people wanting to put their house up for sale heard feedback that they didn’t like the truck in the driveway next store, or what. But we all have the same covenants and nobody can get a pass on them –UNLESS you have the clause like we do, that lets a majority get a petition together to change the rules. That’s how I became president. Some guy put up a shed (also were not allowed) and the HOA was saying they’d have to sue him, and double or triple our dues in order to do it. Well, no… but that’s a longer story– I just wanted to let you know to look into the declarations because maybe you could get a change done that way.

    Like

    1. Ya know…it’s really sad that food trucks are regulated about like gun-related businesses. But that’s one thing that makes it an apt analogy. So, GMTA because I was thinking something along the lines of what you described, but hadn’t thought about Twitter. It’d be Antiques Roadshow style. Kind of off the cuff opinions but maybe not written, formal appraisals. I’ll have to ask B how he feels about that.

      As for the merch idea, so many people are out there doing super awesome things in this space that I wouldn’t step into it unless I had a killer idea I’d validated beforehand. But yeah – we could have a shop if we wanted to. That probably would have been best done in conjunction with Ott Gun Works (Brian’s got a raving fan base there) but…we’ve had too much on our plates since Brian founded the business.

      I would ❤ selling yogurt at a music festival just for fun – especially if you'd sell it with me. But long term, yeah…let's modify that idea. I am thinking/hoping/wishing there are markets out there on the road that we just don't know about because we're not there yet. Guessing it would not be a market for much of anything we're currently doing or planning on doing, but may be something we morph if there's an intersection of our interests with others' needs.

      Thanks for your thoughts on the other side of the HOA. I can truly appreciate that perspective, but what I can't wrap my head around is this stupid tit-for-tat, passive-aggressive behavior. Part of me does want to be a jerk and call the HOA president right now because complainer dude has old building materials in his driveway that have been there for over a week. And then I'm reminded that they really wouldn't be bothering me much if he hadn't been so mean to us.

      We just need to leave. And maybe meet you in Colorado. Maybe next year 🙂

      Like

Penny for Your Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s