Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time out for the Royal Wedding

One day left till we start our RV adventure. One day till the Royal Wedding.  Both have great significance.  My friend Herbie asked what the big deal was with the wedding and was it a girly thing?

That really started me thinking. I am 59 years old and the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana held me rapt. That was my Royal Wedding. Now, looking back on the years following that spectacular event, I can't help but feel sorry for anyone who marries into that dysfunctional family.

For all the pomp and ceremony that will occur while we sleep, it marks the beginning of a new monarchy. Yes the Queen is still there, Prince Charles is still next in line for the throne, but the reality is Prince William and Princess Catherine will have all the publicity and intrusion the British press and paparazzi can possibly print.

William may want to protect her from the peasants but my thought is he should mainly protect her from his family. The Queen decides what her title will be and whether or not anyone likes it will control her from her appearances to 'encouraging' an heir and a spare.  Don't think I would like Her Magesty asking if I was pg yet.

Anyway, I wish the very best for them both. I won't be watching the wedding. That is for the new generation to experience.

Instead I will be sleeping (or not), excited and stressed to get the final things packed, stored and/or loaded into the RV. That is what is significant to me. That is what makes me feel like Royalty. King Tom and Queen Donna Lou, heading into the future, reigning over our little home on wheels.

God bless.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tired but resolved - Donna and Tom will finish this race.

Sorry to be so long in getting caught up. We have been pressing on. Three days to go. We shall prevail.  Tom and I finally got the last of the construction done in the RV a couple of days ago and are loading up now.  We had to change our plans last week when the table and desks we were planning on installing were way too heavy to use for the kind of travel we are planning.  Thursday was a DiD day.

After weighing the RV and determining that the interior design we had agreed on would no longer work... "Damn it, Donna, these don't fit in here? You got a plan B?"  I always have a plan B.  I didn't want the dining room table in there anyway, so had a plan to replace when Tom realized it would not work. (Don't tell him. I don't want to hurt his feelings.)

You guys are really going to get to know us intimately before long.  ROFL MAO. Tom is not a shopper. If it is not sold on the Internet, in his book, it does not exist. Well, I like looking online but only to narrow the search area. So I narrowed the search to Wally World and OfficeMax. I had an idea. After convincing Tom I could not figure this out without actually seeing the furniture he agreed to go with me.  There was a couple of "we could make do with this" kind of things at Wall mart, but nothing that really rang our bell.

Now we have a 45" x 150" slide, so size is as important as weight. Our RV is 27' so that is a lot of togetherness. In addition, I am overweight, Tom is overweight and Dieter (the dog) is overweight. We had to decide what we really wanted and needed as far as furniture goes.  We are never in the living room watching TV, so we don't need a sofa. Our entire lives are lived on our computers, eating in the dining room and sleeping in the bedroom.  Makes me wonder why we had a 2400 sq. ft. house. Well we are down by 2000 sq ft now.

In the end we chose a couple of rolling computer cart type desks and comfortable chairs for the living area. They secure tightly to the walls for traveling but when we are settled they can be rolled into whatever position we want them to be.  Sounds good, huh?

 They are 36" wide and made of tempered glass.  Yes, we had the glass discussion. They are pretty durable and the lightest weight desks we could find that would fit into the space we have. Next purchase are large blotters to cover the glass.  Anyway, that was one problem solved.

The last couple of days have been spent going through stuff we thought we needed when we moved last year. It is amazing how much we did not need after all.  Bottom line is we have been working hard, going to bed exhausted and looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

I am hoping the next post will be the RV packed and ready to pull out on Sunday.

Happy Traills to you.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter - My Testimony

I know it is not politically correct to express ones religious, political or financial beliefs. I also know that we all have them.  It is not my intention to condemn or judge anyone elses beliefs, only to rejoice in expressing mine.  (DISCLAIMER).

I am a Christian, I am proud of that. It gives me hope, confidence and much comfort. Jesus came into my life when I was a young, unhappy girl. My father was an alcoholic and he took a bribe and was fired from his job. Our mother could not make enough money to support three kids while he sat in bars in the afternoon saying he was looking for work. We were doled out to relatives, my sister, brother and I. I was really angry. I went to live with my great-aunt and uncle who had no children.  After me, there was no way they wanted any kids.  I was mean, spiteful and hated everyone and everything.

My great-grandmother Henley also lived with us.  She was ancient (at least to me) and she kept snuff in her closet. I thought that was the funniest thing.  She would go in there and get a dip while I snuck around watching.  She ate cereal for breakfast most mornings with me before school.

One day she started talking to me about my meanness. She kind of intimidated me so I didn't smart off to her. She introduced me to Jesus at the breakfast table as a friend I could always rely on. I did not understand the saviour part for a long time, but it did not matter. Here was someone who would never leave me, never send me away, and loved me even if I was a terror. My Grandma gave me a gift that day that has never left me. Jesus is still with me today. He is still my friend, but as I grew up he became more. He is my healer, of both body and spirit. He is my comfort in times of sorrow and fear. He is my joy in times of happiness. He is my saviour who offers eternal life.

Thank you for reading to here and letting me share the most important moment in my life with you. We celebrate Easter with bunnies and eggs, baskets and hunts, and that is okay. For those of to whom Easter means more, we celebrate the Risen Saviour who died for the sins of the world and rose to give us eternal life.  All He asks is that we accept him. I am glad I did.

Tomorrow I will go back to the amusing adventures of Damn it, Donna.  The last couple of days have been trying. God bless and keep you in His loving arms, today and always

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 33-YOD It is coming together

The living room emptied out after the garage sale and so did the master bedroom. Furniture gone, the only thing left is dog hair in the carpet. Progress is being made. Then Kimberly brought some of her furniture and the living room and master bedroom is filling up again.

We are down to Tom's room and the kitchen and pantry. With 12 days left we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Like a jumping toad we go from milestone to milestone. Up next is getting the pantry and kitchen sorted.

What condiments to you really need?  If you bought the thyme when your youngest child was born and she just turned 31, should you throw it out or just move it again?  And please tell me, who bought sauerkraut and put it in my pantry. Yuck.  I have nightmares of my childhood when my dad stunk up the house with the stuff.  That is definitely not going. Just the necessities:  Flour, sugar, shortening, baking powder - okay, I can bake a cake.  Oatmeal, raisins and pecans - cookies. 

And when did I get 7 skillets? Oops, my bad. Alton Brown would say at least one is a saucier ( french pronounced sauc-e-a).  Considering I stopped cooking seriously about 25 years ago I really don't need 3 dutch ovens. Maybe I should let Tom pick out what he wants, he is a much better cook than I am anyway.

So, that was my plan last night. It is a good think I didn't post it because today was a Damn it, Donna Day. For those of you not intimately knowledgeable with Tom and our mutual dynamics, I am sure you are confused by Damn it, Donna Days. Those of you who know us well are just nodding in agreement.  I will attempt to explain.

I am a bit of a free spirit. Tom is an engineer. I am always coming up with "scathingly brilliant ideas" which usually gives Tom work to do.  He is a planner, plotter and precision performer. This means everything takes twice as long as I think it should and he feels like I am always rushing him.  I tend to be impulsive and he is totally plan oriented. Plan the work, work the plan. That bores me. How in the world have we stayed together 41 years? God only knows. And I mean that sincerely.

Anyway, today was a "Damn it, Donna you are overloading the RV day. You can't keep putting more and more stuff in there, we won't make it up a hill."

"We took out the heavy stuff with the queen bed and hide-a-bed sofa," I say sweetly.

"But you are putting twice as much back in there and the weight distribution is way off!"

"Am not and there is nothing wrong with the weight distribution." I reply.

"Are too and you don't understand weight distribution." he yells.

It continues from there but you get the picture.  So to solve the issue I tell him, lets just go weigh the darn thing.  That will give us a starting point and we won't be yelling at each other (scathingly brilliant idea).

That will take hours! Well, it took two hours. And worth both of them.  You see, after weighing the RV I still have 1,000 pounds to play with.  Na Na Na Na.

So, tomorrow will be pantry day and hopefully not another Damn it, Donna Day.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 30 - YOD Garage Sale OVER

Okay, I survived it.  It was pretty bad though. Made about $1,000 which is good, had people asking about guns and jewelry, which is not good.  I just told them with 3 daughters any jewelry I might have had was gone and if I had a gun I would have shot Tom for making me have a garage sale.

We did get rid of a lot of the JUNK I referred to in the last post. It is really amazing that people would buy some of the stuff we had out.  Of course, I did use my one dollar back up price. If I did not know what it was worth, it was one dollar.  There is an emotional cost to getting rid of things.  It was hard for Tom and me as well, to let some of the stuff go.  I had a pottery bean pot that belonged to my great grandmother Henley that went to a neighbor. I could not sell it for money so I gave it to her as a gift. She will use it to cook frijoles.

Tom watched as gifts we had received from the kids went to new homes. One was a carving of a dolphin jumping a piece of driftwood that our super talented son-in-law Chris made for us.  It sat on our mantle for years. Tom had to leave the room. 

We also sold our second car today. Our niece needed a new car and we had one we were planning to sell so we sold it to her.  It was a real joy to see her excitement and to watch as she and her son drove off in a good, dependable car that will last her for years.  It is a Buick Rendezvous CXL, a perfect soccer mom type car with all the bells and whistles. 

That was one of those decisions that make you feel good. Could we have gotten more for it selling it to someone else? Of course we could. Would we have been smiling and laughing with the buyer as we explained how to turn on the seat warmers? Probably not.  She will enjoy the car and we will enjoy knowing she has it. God Bless you Laura and Gage.

The decisions we are making now will impact the rest of our lives. We have chosen to minimize the number of 'things' we have in order to maximize the number of experiences we can have. When making a decision like that, there are always trade-offs. We believe the material things we are getting rid of now will be replaced with memories that will fill our hearts and our days.

I am going to call American Veterans or Purple Heart and have them come get what we have left. I am not going through the stress of another garage sale.  If it won't sell on E-Bay or Craig's List then it gets donated.  We have 13 days till we are gone from here and off to Corpus Christi. I would rather spend them loading and re-loading and arranging and re-arranging the RV than face another round of people rummaging around. 

Our prayer is that God will continue to shine His light on us, help us to make wise decisions and encourage us to move in His direction. If you have a moment, agree with us before God as we go on.  Thanks. 

The Traill's continue...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 28 - YOD Have I said I hate garage sales?

The past couple of days have been pure hell-o for me and Tom. Getting ready for a garage sale (in our living room), when I really hate garage sales, has us back to the Damn It Donna stage. We have gone through every closet, every drawer and every cabinet. What I discovered amazed me.  We have spent years collecting JUNK!

J is for Justifying the purchase when we knew we did not need it.
U is for all the Ugly pictures, nick nacks and plastic things we have stuffed everywhere.
N is for Nothing we have should be priced more than $5.00.
K is for we should have Known better than to waste money on this stuff.

We had a couple of people call and ask if they could come early and take a look at what we had.  Of course, I say.  I did not realize what I was saying. We were not ready. These were professional Garage Salers.  They came in threes and anyone could tell by the look in their eyes as they surveyed the disaster area they were ready to deal.  They started pointing, how much, is this for sale, will you take $3.00 for it? I was so confused that I did not remember what we said on this and that.  They may have taken advantage of the garage sale virgin.  I hate garage sales.

Today was spent creating order out of chaos. I think we have it now. We have a plan for pricing and strategy for out-witing, out-lasting and out-playing these professionals. Everything is a dollar! VCR = $1.00; TV  = $1.00; sauce pan  = $1.00; you name it  = $1.00.  I think it will work because I learned how to count in 1st grade and no one can out-count me!

I am tired and my back hurts so I am going to bed. Tomorrow is the big day. Tune in next time to see if the plan worked or if Tom saying Damn It, Donna are you going to give away everything we own? Have I said I HATE GARAGE SALES!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 24- Just catching up. It has been a fast week.

It has been a while since I caught you up with the Traill doings.  Sorry about that.  It has been a very busy week. Most of the week was used up just sorting stuff for the Running Away From Home Sale. There has been nothing amusing, dramatic or even interesting to share.  We did make a trip to Houston on Friday to see the Pirates beat the Philly's. 

Our 5-year old grandson Bryce is a Pirate in Pearland, TX Tee-Ball. It was an exciting game with the Pirates willing 22 to 11. Bryce is about a foot shorter than the rest of the team but what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for in enthusiasm. He struts his stuff everytime he gets up to bat and while the ball rarely goes past the pitcher, he does get to first base. It is intense sports action for the discerning fan.

Bryce's 5th birthday party was on Saturday and we bowled up a storm.  We really had a good time and the kids scored higher than we did.  We both had bumpers up so it was kind of embarrassing.  That will be something we will miss while on the road. Trips home to see the young'uns will have to be worked in there somewhere.

We stopped at PPL Motorhomes in Houston for some things we had been looking for to finish out the RV purchases.  That place is really a gold mine of "stuff."  We found the bicycle bumper mount racks we had been looking for on sale, which is always good.  One of the things we were told was a must is a Tote-Along.  We want to stay in State and Federal parks most of the time and they usually do not have sewer connections.  I am not an expert on waste materials but my DH seems to know quite a bit about it.  Anyway, we got a good deal on a 4-wheel 32 gal. tote that hooks on the trailer hitch ball of the truck to take to the dump station.  Finish that off with a sturdy, comfortable folding chair for Tom and it finished up our shopping list.  If you are passing through Houston and need anything RV, check out PPL.  They have everything there.

Guess that is about all for today.  See I told you it was not even interesting.  Thanks for hanging in there though.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 18 Year of Decision-Construction Update

After a rush trip to the nail salon for an emergency manicure, I am able to type again.  You just have to take care of these things quickly so they don't escalate. 

The weekend is over and a new week begun. We have made so much progress on the RV revamp that I thought I would post some before and after pics.  It is not completely done yet but the difference is really amazing.  This is what the dinette area looked like as Tom took out one of the seats:

That area is being converted to a desk area for me.  We are very computerized and both of us require space for our computers, monitors and stuff.  We left the seat against the wall and built in a desk that sits on top of 2 file cabinets.  Tom's file cabinet faces out and mine faces left.

I think it turned out great.  There is very little leg room but anyone who knows me knows I always sit indian style anyway.  A leftover from being short and my feet rarely touch the floor anyway.

The bedroom is quite different now.  We originally had a queen sized bed that took up most of the area and was really hard to get in and out of.   The drawers under the shirt closets and the under bed storage area were removed

The carpeting was removed on the basement frame that is used as bed support and the plan to build supports for twin beds is developed.

The two beds have storage underneath the matress support.  The half wall is actually a headboard that will be completed when we get to Corpus Christi in May.  Notice the entertainment center on the right.  This was revamped for our electronic equipment and flat screen TV.
Turned out nice.
There is still a number of small projects to get finished.  There will be a cabinet in the bedroom that will add additional storage for clothing. It has a cedar floor to help keep bugs from taking up residence with us.  We have decided not to share our sleeping space with anyone or anything.

There will be more to come. It is really exciting to see it come together.  26 days to move out.  The adventure continues...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 17 Year of decision - Ouch

Short post tonight. Smashed my finger and really hard to type.  Tom and Jerry have been busy in the RV and I am thrilled with the result.  The bedroom is complete except for the new cabinet doors which will not be put on for a couple of weeks. The dinette was removed and a desk built in for me. I am hoping to get some work to do from the RV occasionally. The entertainment center has been rebuilt and is great. 

As the documentrix, it is my job to take pictures documenting the work being done.  I did take pictures and tomorrow I will post some.  I broke my nail about 1/4 inch from the quick. It hurts and I just want to keep ice on it.  So will let you know more tomorrow.

The adventure continues.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 15 Year of Decision - The Adventures of Tom and Jerry

Picture yourself in a little house beyond sound and space. Tape measures lay about, sawdust flies through the air and the sound of drills fill your senses.  Tada: You have entered the Construction Zone.

The past couple of days have been so very hectic. Evelyn was here for three days which means I did very little. Tom was out of town. At least the floor in the kitchen is finally in and looks great.  Thank you Julio.

The front porch is being re-built for safety reasons. Thank you again, Julio.  But the work on the RV has ground to a halt.  I keep saying, we have 5 weeks, we have to do the RV first. Now we have 4 weeks, we have to do the RV first. So we called in the calvary.  My sister was nice enough to marry the calvary about 43 years ago.  His name is Jerry.  So for more than 40 years we have been Donna and Carol and Tom and Jerry. Go ahead and snicker.  Everyone does.

Anyway, Jerry is now doing the construction on the RV while Tom works with Julio on the safety issues that we can't leave undone.  Step 1: starts with a discussion; Jerry on left, Tom on right.

Step 2:  Always have to get those measurements.  Measure 11 times cut once. It is interesting to see that the RV is so small that they don't even have to stand up to measure where the beds are going:

Step 3: How many engineers does it take to change the blade in a circular saw?

Step 4: Keep him penned until he goes cross-eyed and then buy him a Shiner Boch.

Stay tuned folks, for more Adventures of Tom and Jerry.