The Transition to Full Time
It’s wonderful when a plan comes together, but sometimes it is scary how quickly it can happen. Let me recap the story for you. It was January 2014 when we first met Kim & Christi and Larry & Kathy. They were the first real full-timers we had met. We had just owned our RV for a few months and were planning to make small weekend trips in it. Once we heard their story and saw how they lived, we realized that not only could we live full time in a motorhome, we wanted to. Prior to that, I was planning to work until I was 65, at least, and more likely until I was 67 or so. So much for that plan! The more time we spent in our motorhome, the more we wanted to be in it all the time!
A trip to Little Rock in April 2014 really did us in. We met up again with Kim & Christi and Larry & Kathy. There we received a second dose of full time medicine. From there, they were each headed out to different locations just to see what was out there. While in Little Rock, we also realized that if we were going to eventually be full time, we needed a different coach. Our ‘starter’ RV was nice, but not what we would need to be on the road full time.
The final straw was our 2 week summer stay at Grayton Beach in Florida. That was our longest stay in the RV so far and we realized we definitely could do this. We signed up for an RV Dreams rally in Indiana in September. This is conducted by a couple who got tired of their professional lives and started full timing. Now into their 8th year, they conduct seminars about RVs and full time living. There we learned a lot about RV’s and being full time. It was not just geared to motorhomes, but also talked about 5th wheelers, campers and gave a good overview. Once we got back to Meridian, I gave 6 months notice at work that I would retire March 31, 2015.
Based on that 6 months timeline, we got to work. Within 2 weeks, we upgraded our motorhome to a 2014 Tiffin Phaeton. It has washer, dryer, fireplace, 3 TVs with residential sized refrigerator. Yep, another confirmation that we could live this way.
Fast forward to February. We had a three week trip to Texas planned. The real estate market in Meridian has been notoriously slow. We knew that our house would generate some activity when it got listed. We weren’t expecting a lot of buyers, but certainly a lot of lookers. We figured it would be a good idea to list the house while we were gone. That way, all the lookers could come through as they wished without us having to vacate for each of them to see the house.
At first, there was a flurry of activity. Several people were interested and two couples came back for second looks, but no offers. On day 16 of the listing, our agent called with an offer. It sounded good to us, and with one round of negotiation, we reached an agreement. Thanks to the kind rangers at Stephen F. Austin State Park in San Felipe Texas, for allowing us to send Faxes back and forth. Honestly, they were really excited for us since they knew that selling the house was going to be the key to us getting on the road.
The offer we received on the house had all the usual contingencies such as meeting appraisal and subject to home inspection. They had also included one that required us to give them 90 days to sell their house. No problem, since that gave us 90 days to get out. If theirs had not sold at the end of the 90 days, they said they would buy anyway. So, that was the plan and we were moving along as if we had 90 days.
We had started packing some items. After talking to a lot of full timers, they all said that the transition from a stick house to an RV is critical. We were going from 2600 sq. ft. to about 350 sq. ft. All our advisers said that they stored way too much stuff. After several years of having stuff in storage, they finally realized that they really didn’t need any of it and them they finally got rid of it. We tried to keep our storage pile to a minimum. Our give away pile was huge but hopefully the folks at Hope Village for Children do well with it. We were piddling along working at it, but not with any intensity. With our contract date of March 5, we were looking at having until June 5 to get it all done. Our buyer listed their house on March 16. On March 18, our agent called us to let us know that their house sold! 2 days!! We were ecstatic until he dropped the bomb on us. Their buyer wanted to move in in 30 days! What? What happened to June 5th? Time to get in gear.
We picked up our pace in sorting through all our stuff. Garage and attic were packed and gave us the most worry. Just to show you how much stuff you can unconsciously accumulate, look at the following picture of what we found removing everything from the house.
I mean, really, how many nail clippers do two people need? We had previously scheduled a trip to our favorite resort, Bella Terra, for the week of March 30 through April 6. We thought about cancelling, but it was a get together of other Tiffin owners. We really wanted to be there to share stories and problems and learn from the others that have had their coaches longer than us. We went, had a great time and met a lot of great people. There were 39 coaches with 80 people in all. But, when we got back, we had only 2 weeks to finish everything.
During the final 2 weeks, there were a few hiccups previously built into the schedule. Since I was about to lose my health insurance, I was trying to get a few things done. I had an MRI scheduled for April 7 and an epidural on the 8th. No biggie, assuming all went well. Louie, our miniature poodle, had been with us for several years. He actually belonged to my aunt and we inherited him. He was a great traveller and just loved being with us. He was older and had diabetes and Cushing’s disease but was doing relatively well. On Monday, he didn’t eat. On Tuesday, he threw up a couple of times. Late Tuesday afternoon, we took him to the vet and got a shot for the nausea. Early Wednesday morning, he had a bloody BM. We took him to the vet and by that afternoon, he was gone. NOT IN OUR PLANS! We are both dog lovers and we were devastated! RIP Louie. We will miss you.
Our plan was to be out by the 17th. How to get rid of everything? Gar(b)age sale! A post on Facebook Thursday and away we went. We got up at 3am Saturday and started pulling stuff out of the house, garage and attic and setting it up in our driveway. At 7:30, we were a bit worried that there had not been any customers yet. Suddenly, the gates opened. We did not know, but there was an estate sale down the block that started at 8am. Cars driving by thought we were the estate sale so they stopped and bought. By 1:00, 80% of the stuff was gone but better than that, we found somebody that was willing to come back and get everything that was left. Prices were cheap, but we were just glad to see everything gone. At that point, it wasn’t a matter of making money, it was all about getting the stuff gone!
The garage sale was a huge success,
leaving us 10 days to get everything else done to get completely out of the house and get it cleaned for the new owners. The purchaser is a young couple who are children of friends of ours. Consequently, we have known them for years. Our granddaughter’s name is Millie and their daughter is also named Millie. When they first looked at the house, and they looked at what would be Millie’s room, there were already books on the shelf that said Millie. As we sat across the table from them at the closing, we felt their excitement and know they will be happy in their new home.
Discontinue the land line, cable, change our address with the post office, cancel the homeowner’s insurance and we are out of there!
For the time being, we are staying in Enterprise at our niece and nephew’s. They have a one site RV hookup that we are taking advantage of.
Next post: trip to South Carolina via Pine Mountain GA.