This will be a bit of a quick recap post… I haven’t had much time to write these last couple of weeks, I’ve been lucky to get a post a week in and work on some longer posts that I haven’t finished up quite yet.
Things have been busy at the day job, I’ve had several custom design orders come in which have taken up a lot of my time in the evenings, plus it’s baseball season so we’ve had games take up several of our Tuesday and Friday evenings, we’ve been preparing for the massive yard sale, car shopping, taking care of some things that got lost in the mail during the move, and so on, and so forth.
There have been a few news worthy things happen lately… I am now the proud owner of a Doodle Bug! I decided somewhere about halfway through the car hunt that I would love to find a new model Beetle (not one of the 70’s versions). So I started looking for one in my price range… and that was horribly disappointing. All the ones I could find in the price range I had arbitrarily set for myself were in not-so-wonderful shape. One of them looked great on the outside and looked like a farm animal had been shacking up in the inside for a few months. We didn’t even go look at that one, they were nice enough to post a picture of the inside saying it was in ‘decent shape’.
We found one that looked absolutely perfect in the pictures but was a bit above what I wanted to spend. I was finally convinced that spending a little more for a car that I loved was okay, and that I was still putting money in savings from the sale of the Murano so it was okay. So we got a little more money out and went to look at it… actually racing to get there before another couple, who showed up early and would have had dibs on the car, but in a weird twist they left without saying a word while we were all waiting on the seller to get back from picking her daughter up at school. An omen perhaps?
Anyway, when we got digging around inside the car it was actually pretty nasty, with an abnormal amount of the front end repainted. The surly lady who was selling it spoke very little English, but did manage to inform us that the car belonged to a friend of hers, who had moved back to Brazil and handed the car over to be sold. The ‘friend’ had only owned this fine piece of machinery about 6 months, and it was a 10 year old car. Warning sign #38. The car drove fine, but the center console was missing, there was grime all over the interior, possible front end damage, and to top it off the check engine light came on as we pulled back in the driveway from our test drive.
So I had basically decided I wasn’t going to find a Beetle in my price range (which was basically true) and started opening my search up to other vehicles, but secretly still hoping to find a Beetle. We went out Saturday for a day long car-searching marathon… which mostly consisted of driving past car lots and yelling if we saw something good, then turning around if the traffic was light enough. We drove past a lot of cars that day. But we also had some really good pizza, so that helped.
The last area we were looking in was a town about 45 minutes from here with several smaller car lots, we were actually on our way out of town and saw a silver bug in a mid-sized car lot… Marty was pretty tired of driving around by then so we turned around and went back, and lo and behold it was in awesome shape! It was also a diesel, which was something I knew I wouldn’t find in my price range but had decided would be really cool to have. They get amazing gas mileage, and diesel motors will generally last a lot longer than gas burners, Marty’s truck is a diesel and still kicking with nearly 300 thousand miles on it.
So, to make a very long story a little shorter, the car was out of my self proclaimed budget, but the dealership manager talked himself down almost immediately to a very reasonable price. It might have helped that it was a nasty rainy day and probably a bit slow. I drove it, fell in love with it, and quickly reconciled in my head the amount of money I would still be able to put in savings, the gas mileage, the fact that I hadn’t seen anything in such good shape in my price range… and bought it!
And may I just say, I haven’t regretted it yet. That is the coolest little car. I get anywhere from 40-60 miles per gallon, depending on how it’s driven and the speed, it drives like a tiny sports car with it’s turbo engine, and it’s the perfect size. I was really surprised at how roomy and comfortable it was. I’ve ordered a few small things for it, a replacement knob for the side mirror controls (turns out it’s a fairly common problem for that to be knocked off), and a new emblem for the front because it’s a bit faded. But for a 9 year old car I think it’s in great shape, and drives like a dream. I hope with the diesel engine I’ll be able to drive it for a good long time… and enjoy every minute of it! Did I mention how fun it is to drive?
So now I have a more reasonably priced car, with exceptional gas mileage (Something the Murano really lacked), cheaper insurance that I also dropped down to liability because the value of the car is less than the Murano, and I was able to put a bit of money back into savings. And to top it off I was still able to get a car that I absolutely love, actually more than the Murano believe it or not.
We’ve had to push the massive yard sale back from last weekend to this weekend due to rain, but it may have to be moved yet again. Apparently now it just rains all weekend, every weekend. And it’s been abnormally cold too, but that’s another story.
There’s some scheduling issues with moving it this time, it would have to be into June, so I’m hoping the forecast changes because we now have two closed in utility trailers completely full of stuff for the sale. We really need to start getting rid of it! On the bright side, the storage unit looks so much emptier now, we should be able to reduce down to one of the much smaller units before too long. We are keeping one for now to house the tools we still need for the lawn care business, so we have a few totes stored in it as well that we could further pare down or move to the camper if need be. For now though I’m comfortable leaving them there, while we’re paying the bill anyway.
I’m going through the Turtle and decluttering it already. I wanted to be able to use the yard sale to get rid of the things I’m getting rid of, so I brought an empty tote in last night and started going through each cabinet looking for things we weren’t using. I figure we’ve been here a little over a month, if we haven’t used something by now we won’t use it. There’s obvious exceptions, but this rule works for the most part.
When we moved in I kept a ton of baskets and storage boxes… partly because I apparently have a basket problem and partly to see what I might need or want to use as we settled in. I put them all in the cabinet over our chairs, and I haven’t taken one thing out of that cabinet since I put them there. I’ve even added a couple of baskets to it as I realized I didn’t need them.
So last night I drug them all down and spread them out on the floor to decide what to get rid of. This, oddly, was a little tough. I obviously do have a basket problem, and I know that I logically should have just gotten rid of all of them. But sometimes you have to take baby steps.
First I pulled out the ones I definitely didn’t like, then the ones that I had bought thinking they were cute but never used them, and then I pulled out a couple of them that I really liked but could easily and inexpensively replace. I was left with a few that I find really pretty, they are the right shape to house things in our cabinets, and I’m going to try to work them in over the next month or so. If I still end up not using them I’ll look at them again the next time around, but for now I was happy with the pile I got rid of. Sometimes it’s okay to take little steps, it’s better than not taking any steps at all.
So that’s whats going on here lately, a lot of work and busy schedules. I expected May to be this way, spring is usually our busiest season, and throwing a full time job in the mix makes it even more so. June should be quite a different story for several reasons, most of which I can’t get into just yet!
I will say though, that this spring has been a vast improvement as far as stress goes over some in the past, due in large part to our decisions to simplify and downsize. We don’t have to worry about keeping our own yard mowed, I still don’t have a full half day in cleaning the house (even with the vacuum problem described below), our bills are fewer, and every day stress is way down. I can’t wait to see how summer feels.
Do you remember when I said this was a quick recap post? That was silly of me. This is officially twice as long as my longest post lately. So there.
Oh, and a couple of RV living tips before I go, things I’m learning along the way!
First, if you live in a campground, and you choose to walk to the laundry facilities to do your washing, and when you start to walk over it’s sprinkling a little, you should go back in and get an umbrella… or perhaps just take the car! We were stranded about 300 yards from the Turtle Sunday afternoon when it started POURING down rain right as we got to the laundry room. We stood there for around 20 minutes waiting on the rain to let up, and finally made the call to run back to the camper. We had taken both dogs too, so we took off with them bouncing behind on their leashes like really heavy kites in a windstorm. Actually we nearly beheaded one of them when she went the wrong way around a pole… but it turned out okay in the end. We showed up at the Turtle soaking wet and laughing hysterically, and I took the car when I went back to get the sheets out of the dryer. Hindsight it was pretty funny, but just as a tip to you an umbrella is never a bad idea.
Secondly, don’t think that just because your floor is smaller that you don’t need a great vacuum. This is twice as true if you have pets. I’ve been fighting with cat litter for weeks using a tiny three-in-one vacuum that we bought last year for our first camper, it works great for small messes and when you don’t track on your carpet daily, but it just wasn’t cutting it for my needs. So I got my really nice vacuum back out of storage. I had planned to sell it, thinking it was too big for the Turtle. But when I got desperate I tried it, and it fits nicely behind the dining room table, and makes cleaning the carpet so much easier. I definitely should have brought it to begin with.
And now you know.