Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Sue and Mo at Harris Beach
Sue and Mo at Harris Beach

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 10 Transitions

First, a warning.  This is another long, rather rambling catch-up conversation that I thought about posting only to my private Transitions blog.  It is very much a personal journal.  Like many RV bloggers, when we are basically stationary, I tend to avoid blogging.  The everyday stuff is just too mundane, and not related to the RV life and the MoHo Travels.  But there are others like me out there, and while readers come and go, I do have some that check in now and then and might wonder what we have been up to. I also know that when I haven’t heard from someone in a long time, and they do a catch-up post, I enjoy reading it, even if it isn’t travel related. The blogging world is changing, with many bloggers slipping into the ethers of cyberspace, never heard from again.  Some of us, though, have old connections that go way back more than a dozen years, and I do like hearing from these people, even if they have hung up their keys, or if they are in the non-snowbird portion of their lives.  So here you go.

I have been thinking about journaling for some time now, but the blog posts keep eluding me.  Part of the problem is that I often don’t have the computer with me and typing on the phone, no matter how nice it is to have that option, doesn’t lend itself to on-the-fly writing.  I type as fast as I think, so the typing doesn’t really interfere with my thought flow when I am using a full keyboard.  The last post I wrote, while we were traveling to the coast, was a mess.  I tried to use the voice feature on the phone.  That was an exercise in futility, and even my readers noticed that the “flow” wasn’t there as it usually is.

It doesn’t help that the days and weeks all seem to be running together, without a lot of markers along the way.  Too much of the same thing, whether it is work or play, makes Jane a dull whatever, as one of my friends said recently.  But, when nothing comes that seems to be of any import, I slip back into my old technique of starting right now, here in the moment.

At 5 in the late afternoon, the sun is still brilliant.  I am sitting at the table in the cottage, facing the big old double hung windows that face the east side of the property.  The huge old oaks are shifting about in the breeze.  Even when it is hot here in Grants Pass, the afternoon breezes are a welcome relief.  Today hasn’t been too terribly hot, though, with temps in the mid 70’s and moving clouds to block the sunlight now and then.  Wonderful.

This is the big old oak on the west side that will NOT have to be taken down for the new house.

For quite some time now we have been spending our weeks doing much the same thing.  Usually on Monday mornings we head for Rocky Point, with the mowers and trimmers and yard tools that are carried in the truck all the time.  We have the trailer in tow, mostly because we take it back to the apartments because the riding mower for Rocky Point and the walking mower for the apartments are at the repair shop.  So we haul the one walking mower back and forth, with the main riding mower residing in Grants Pass thank goodness, and return home each week, hoping for a call from the repair man.

Monday mornings are often a bit rough for me.  I get moody and irritable, with the constant job of packing and repacking in front of me.  I am trying to keep three sets of most things at each house, but that doesn’t work too well for fresh food.  Instead I have to pack up whatever we have that is fresh, plan whatever we need for Rocky Point where there are no stores nearby, and think about what I have to take to The Cottage that isn’t already there.  I have three notebooks that I try to keep current, and it works some of the time, but I still find myself knowing that I have two bottles of Hershey’s syrup and nope, there isn’t one here.  Here being whichever house I am in currently as I try to dish up ice cream.

Here is the “mound” we planted at the cottage two years ago and what it looks like now.  Stuff grows well in Grants Pass

The last couple of weeks, however, have been a bit easier.  I discovered the small, lightweight, plastic bin method of packing.  I can see everything, can keep the bins in the closet and add to them as needed, and I can lift them.  Dry food bin, Sue’s clothes bin, Mo’s clothes bin, the dog stuff bin, the computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, chargers, cords and all that stuff bin.  Yeah, that takes an entire bin.  Then fresh food into the ice chest, don’t forget the dog’s crate or the dog’s bed (we have forgotten both at one time or another), hook up the trailer to the truck and we are off.

The usual pattern is 2 or 3 days at Rocky Point, then a couple of days at Grants Pass.  Sometimes we manage more than a few days at a time at each home, and that is always nice.  Most of the time it depends on the mowing schedule.  Mowing and watering seem to be the drivers for wherever we need to go.

At Rocky Point we mow and pack stuff.  Most everything in the house is ready for the final move out, but the garage, shop, and shed are all in need of work.  We have hauled a trailer load to Grants Pass of miscellaneous tidbits every week since I don’t know when.  I think I might go to the calendar and try to count trailer loads.

At the Cottage, Mo has been working all day today on her wood/workshop, building more shelves for her nails and screws, her personal hardware store that keeps everything running smoothly.

We have stored “stuff” upstairs in the RV shed, to be unpacked eventually when the house is built.  We laughed a lot this morning about how much of that stuff is mine, but then I reminded her of how much of that other “stuff” is hers.  We definitely have different priorities.  I have a lot more keepsakes than she does, but then I had four kids and she had none.  I don’t have a lot of “stuff” per se, but I do have treasures, gifts, cards, photos, all the things of a lifetime.  All that “stuff” that so many full timers are so glad to let go of.  Not me.  I need a home base.

My life has been rather wild and chaotic, with losses over and over of my “stuff” back in the old days.  The few things I have managed to hold on to matter to me.  I do love, even once in awhile, taking out a box of cards, or a stash of journals or whatever, and remembering that yes, my life DOES have some continuity, it isn’t all just forgotten.

The other thing that makes writing hard is how my feelings flip flop.  When I am here, at the cottage in Grants Pass, I love it.  I love the open skies, the huge old oaks, the light.  I love being close to a sweet little town, with a traffic problem now and then, but nothing I can’t deal with by getting out early.  Last week I unpacked all my garden and cook books, and put them in the shelves in the RV shed that Mo set up for gardening.  I can’t quite explain how simply comforting it is to walk out there and see my books, lined up and ready to look at.  Treasure.  Sure, I can look anything up on the internet, to cook, or to grow, but still, the books feel like home to me.

I don’t have a lot of work to do here.  The Cottage is 720 square feet, not a lot to clean.  We really have decided that it is time to stop spending money on things to make it more comfortable, cleaner.  We will live with the patched floors, the old carpet in the kitchen, no need to put any more money and work into a place that will be seeing a bulldozer before next year.  Hopefully, at least.

My main job when we are here is moving hoses, watering, weeding, raking, trimming.  And cooking, although I don’t do that as extensively here as elsewhere because I don’t have an oven other than a small convection one, and the entire setup isn’t really conducive to trying to cook anything too fancy.

I actually have time to work on small quilt projects.  This time I brought my “All Gussied Up” rooster pattern and fabric to begin.  It is a complex applique project, with lots of tracing, cutting, choosing the right colors of fabric, and putting it all together.  It was pleasant to sit at the kitchen table and trace little numbered pieces.  I can see why some people enjoy the new coloring craze, mind numbing, and quieting.

I do love being here, a lot, and always seem to settle in to enjoy the feelings, the relaxation, and the dreams of what it will be like when the house is built.

Last week the builder came out with his partner and we decided on the location for the house.  The white marks on the grass mark porch pillars, and the edges of the walls.

See the shade of the oak tree?  That is where the west wall will be

I spend time outside just standing on the “porch”, looking at the view, enjoying how the west side oak will shade the west facing windows of the living room. We were so happy to find that the placement of the house will let us keep that west side oak.  It is big and old and leans nicely away from the house toward the west, so she stays.  Sometimes I walk around to where the bedroom windows will be, or my bay windowed soaking tub, to the beautiful breakfast room surrounded by windows. Light.  The one thing Rocky Point doesn’t have, even with our wonderful skylights.  We have light here and I love it.  Open sky, sunsets, morning light in the windows.

This will be the view from the back living porch. It is the sunniest spot for a future garden.

We moved the windmill from Rocky Point to the Cottage last month.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time on Pinterest, looking at granite, and paint colors, hardwood floors, and last week it was a great deal of time getting decisions made on window styles that will feel like Craftsman and yet not break our budget.  The plans had included some windows that I didn’t like at all, and Mo and I realized that we needed to get the window information to Dave before he gives her the final number.  I now know clearly the difference between a double-hung and a single-hung window, a casement window and cottage style.  Dave is the kind of builder that gives the number up front, an important part for us.  No surprises for the house unless we do changes or upgrades after the fact.  That final number is an important one.

Something that surprised us both was Dave’s choice of cement siding.  Cement?!?  It looks like cedar siding, but paints better and lasts longer.  He is a good builder, so we are trusting him on this.  He also recommended composite decking and metal railings, but we decided we still want real wood.  I want the house to feel like a “real” house and not a composite of crazy materials.  Yes, we will have vinyl windows, not wood, but that is a compromise that has to be made.  Wood windows would be way outside our budget.  But we will have the solid wood Craftsman door, no fiberglass for us!

Lots of time looking at windows on Pinterest.  I have no idea where this photo came from.  This isn’t a photo of how the house will look, just the windows.

Art Deco stained glass panels may be something for later, who knows, but probably not in the picture right away.  There are dreams, and then there is reality, and our Dream House will be somewhere between the two. The things that really matter to us we will have, and some things we will let go.  Hardwood floors for sure, no laminate, but we don’t have to have really fancy tilework in the bathrooms, just around the soaking tub.  It is all about balancing that ever present number, the budget.

The number that isn’t written in stone however, is the lot prep.  Dave says that there is no telling what we will be looking at with the power company and upgrading the current electric service.  We will need a new septic and drain field, which we knew, but the water system will be the killer.  We have a large 1750 gallon cistern that was installed last fall to store water from the 2.5 GPM well, so I have no trouble irrigating.  But the water is full of iron and worst of all, salts.  We can filter the iron, but not the salt, so it seems that we may be installing a “whole house” Reverse Osmosis unit, with another cistern to capture THAT water. We will know more about that plan when we get the water test numbers back this coming week.  The “Great 30” test covers everything and cost a whopping $230 bucks. With those numbers in hand, John Jacob, the water man, will have a better handle on just what extent of filtration we will need for the new house.

We knew about the low producing well when we bought the place, but the RO unit is a surprise, and will be a big chunk of change.  Still, it will be worth it to have ppm less then 1 of anything in our water, to protect the fixtures and the house, and not have to drill another well.  Water issues in the Rogue Valley are notorious, and getting to be more of a problem all the time with continued growth.  It may be Oregon, but it is Southern Oregon, and it is dry.

The other unknown is the demolition of the cottage.  There have to be tests for asbestos and lead, since the house was built in 1926, and we won’t know how much it will cost to take it down until those tests are completed.  Dave is working on all that right now, with plans to get back to us.  It seems as though getting septic approval can take at least two months, and electric even longer, so it is a good thing that we have no plans to actually start building until next season.  In the mean time, we can do a lot of the site prep work except for the demo.  We won’t start that until the Rocky Point sale is a sure thing.

The lawns at Rocky Point are looking great.  The house is very nearly completely hidden now by big trees.

Rocky Point went up for sale in early May.  Most houses in Rocky Point sell in 1 and sometimes 2 years.  Worst case scenario, we keep on as we have been and don’t start building until 2018.  Initially the goal was to be settled into snow free Grants Pass by 2020, so there is really no reason to get stressed, other than the fact that I am getting really tired of living in three houses!! And not having much play time!!

We will be leaving the little greenhouse behind.  Mo built it well.

The other thing we seem to be spending a lot of time on here is rig maintenance.  I think we are wearing out the pavement between our house and Bridge Street Auto.  We love the place, the people are great, do a good job, and are pretty good at communicating with us and diagnosing our needs. I highly recommend them if you are ever in need of RV or car work in Grants Pass. Of course, they also seem to be good at finding things we need to have done.

Mo got new brakes on the Tracker, I got new brakes and a fan clutch on the Dakota, and the MoHo had to go in a few times to try to fix a problem with the levelers.  That was the biggest problem, with all new solenoids, a rebuilt hydraulic pump, and finally after three trips down, new coach batteries and cables.  All is working well now. 

Of course, with all the heavy hauling we have been doing with the pickup, it seems that the transmission is on its way out.  Sigh.  140,000 miles of being a perfect truck does come with a price.  And Mo also has the timing belt to replace in the Lexus.  Sigh again.  I guess cars get old.  We have “used” our motorhome, and she has a good 90,000 miles under her belt without any real problems.  I guess it is just that time.  Needless to say, it feels like money is just rolling out the door much too quickly.

The flowers we leave behind at Rocky Point when all is said and done

And then there is Rocky Point.  After some initial activity, things seem to have slowed down on the showings and there isn’t much happening.  In the Rogue Valley, houses are going as fast as they are put on the market, as is the case in some parts of Klamath Falls.  But not at Rocky Point.  It is a special place, a lovely house, but unique, and in a unique area.  It will take some time.  But it is stressful, very stressful waiting.

We won’t start building the new house till Rocky Point is sold, and there isn’t a mortgage, but there are the utilities, the upkeep, the work keeping it looking nice to contend with.  We are getting a little bit tired, to say the least.  Hopefully something will happen before the summer is over.  I know so many people who have been through this waiting game, and then something does eventually happen.  Sooner or later the house will sell, as another blogger reminded us when writing up the ten things she wish she had known when going full time.

Yet when we head back home to the apartments, it is wonderful to walk in the door and again have all that other “stuff” that is there waiting.  Our comfy furniture, my luscious StressLess recliner, the 55 inch TV with all sorts of streaming stuff available, and not least of course, full unrestricted internet access!  Ahh….and my bed, my luscious bed and my quilts and art.  I am not sure if this really matters to Mo.  She is much better at just being wherever she is at the moment and being fine with it.  I’m the one whose mind rolls around in all these crazy places.

Love the yellow china rose and the old fashioned poppies at the apartments on Old Fort Road

Just to make matters even more confusing, in spite of the grumpy mornings on the way to Rocky Point, once I am there I appreciate how beautiful it is.  I love all the trees that Mo planted, love seeing them mature, love the gardens when they bloom, the forest, the gorgeous green grass, the fabulous water.  I love hearing the geese down on the lake, and when we lived there full time, I loved knowing we could pop the kayaks in the truck and be at the water in five minutes.  I miss that a lot, kayak time.

June and October are the most gorgeous months at Rocky Point.  When I was walking behind the mower the other day, I wondered why in the world we thought we ever had to leave.  Mo reminded me, “We want to no longer have to deal with the heavy snows”.  “It is really nice to have a town close by”. “ It is nice not to have all this work”.  It is time.  I don’t think once Mo has decided something that she ever has second thoughts.  She thinks it all the way through, makes the decision, and then follows through.  One step after the other, no regrets.  I try to be like that, but it seems that I have too many “feelings” all the time.  Memories of happy times, beautiful starry nights in the hot tub, long days on the water, snuggly fires at Christmas, my huge cookie baking counter!  Family space for holiday dinners and celebrations. 

In spite of all the back and forth, we have managed to have a few days of playtime.  We had a great Mother’s Day brunch with Family out at the newly refurbished Rocky Point Resort, just a stone’s throw from our home there.

We enjoyed the annual Taste of Klamath evening at the Ross Ragland in mid May, a long time tradition for us, and made even more fun now that my daughter Melody is employed there. 

We took an entire day while at Grants Pass and went kayaking on Lake Selmac, about 25 miles west of town and one of the few lakes to kayak at that elevation. 

With many miles of dirt road exploring, we finally found Spalding Mill Pond, with logging history dating back to the 30’s.  The original owners who moved here in the early 20th century are still in business in Grants Pass

We topped off the day with a wild exploration ride high into the mountains between Grants Pass and the coast, amazed at the incredible wild and rugged landscape of the Coast Range.

For the last few years, Mo and I have had wonderful play time, lots of great travels, both in the MoHo and otherwise, and have enjoyed that freedom.  Those days will come again.  We still have 8 states to add to the well used state map on the back of the MoHo.  We have a long trip planned for some future date taking in the far northeastern part of the country, and on to the Maritime Provinces.  I have a dream to spend another winter kayaking the spring runs in Florida.  We have a little plan to drive all the Scenic Highways and Byways in our own state, some of which we have traveled, but not all. 

It is all about the transition from living in snow country in Rocky Point, to living in a place where the maintenance is less and the freedom to travel is greater.  The day will come, it is just a process.  Living in the moment, appreciating the process and the transition, is the bigger challenge.  I’m working on it.