BEST LAID PLANS

If you aren’t scared you should be, that according to my niece Rachel an emergency room doc; and Marina, Michelle’s daughter an emergency room physician assistant.  Both are confirming there is not enough protective equipment for medical personnel and it is only going to get worse.   They ask, “please, stay the F*^K home”.

So after making plans to travel north including lots of campground reservations I am staying put in FL for the foreseeable future.  I feel very safe here because I am in the out of doors and certainly more than 6 feet away from anyone.  All my Canadian friends left days ago to get across the border to the safety of their health care system.

After the Spring Break fiasco, the local governments have closed public beaches, including our favorite dog beach Walton Rocks.  Many of the local golf courses are still open.   Keeping 6 feet from fellow golfers is not a problem, so far.  If the courses close I can always walk on, there is no one there to take your money or tell you to get off.  I remember my first Christmas in Washington, D.C. the temperature was in the 60s and I called Mom in Alaska to let her know I was playing golf.  Even if the course was officially closed.

Speaking of Mom, she and Erv are in their assisted living home together, but no visitors are allowed and their meals are being brought to them in their apartment.   Fortunately, they can go outside and get fresh air, take their meals out on the patio.  But, isolation even with another person isn’t what any of us would wish for.  We are so woefully unprepared.

I especially feel for the grocery store workers and truck drivers in their valent effort to keep shelves stocked. They should get hazard pay.  I am going to start tipping the cashier $10.  Thank goodness FL grocery stores sell wine and beer.  It reminded me of the first Snowmageddon in Washington, D.C., I stood in line with Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis at the Capitol Hill Safeway, we both agreed we could go for days with canned food but not without wine.  Floridians have commented this is worse than any hurricane they have experienced.  Isles are empty and not just toilet paper.

I don’t have a large pantry or refrigerator.  I enjoy shopping every few days and buying fresh produce and fish.  Now I have a real challenge of how to pack my fridge and even smaller freezer.

Looking through my lifetime of photos from my storage unit and photos on my phone, it is inconceivable what has happened.  Just days ago I was walking on public beaches, swimming and playing golf.  Now we are hunkered down because of an invisible enemy.   There are millions of refugees around the world fleeing bombs dropping on their homes.  Bombs you can see and hear.   I hope if nothing else comes out of this horrific event we might be more sympathetic to refugees and other displaced persons fleeing violence in their communities.  We are the most privileged and wealthy nation in the world, but we are also vulnerable.  Walls and bombs won’t stop viruses.   If we don’t work together we will die together.

Be safe and keep hope alive.

THE ROAD AHEAD

I haven’t had a permanent residence since June 2016 when I retired from work and sold my Washington, D.C. home.  That summer I house sat Michelle and Duane’s beautiful Stuart, FL home.  Hurricane Mathew came roaring up the coast and I spent the night enclosed but had power, so I was able to check off riding out a hurricane from my bucket list.

That fall I bought Scout I, a 19” Airstream (AS) Flying Cloud in Houston, TX.  I drove west to Austin, Tucson, Palm Springs and up the west coast to Vallejo, CA.  Scout spent the summer of 2017 in storage in Sacramento, CA while I enjoyed my sister Robin’s Long Island home.  I found Scout II for sale in Nassau, NH.  Scout II is a 20’ AS Flying Cloud, the model I always wanted.  One foot gets a great kitchen, large shower, and a much better floor plan.  I sold the 19’ and moved into my new home – Scout II.

Since 2017 I have spent each summer at Robin’s house in Westhampton, NY.  Robin works for Disney (the Mouse) in Los Angeles and will be moving to Paris, France later this year.   I have been so grateful to have a successful and generous bi-coastal sister, with a summer house on Long Island.  Her move to France, however, makes leaving her NY home empty for winter less than desirable.  Wine vendor Mark has been living there since last October and will stay on through next winter.

This short synopsis of my life since retirement is to bring everyone up to speed on where my Road2Reinvention will take me going forward.    I will be a real “FULL-TIME RVer” for the first time since leaving my brick and wood home. 

Winter travel in Florida requires making reservations almost a year in advance.   Other places where snowbirds don’t congregate are generally easy to find camping spots – the kids are in school.  I have enjoyed my winter travels and this winter my semi-permanent place on Hutchinson Island being stationery from Christmas to end of April.  A pool and walking to the beach daily is a great life.  Also, I really like golf in FL.  The courses are green and there is no cactus.

Summer 2020 will bring new opportunities and challenges.  Challenges because I won’t be staying in Robin’s Long Island home; and, opportunities to travel in the northern states and maybe even Canada!  Spending summers on Long Island has limited my travel.  The challenges will be making camping reservations all summer, most notably finding places over weekends.   School is out and summer camping is one of my fond memories growing up.

It isn’t too difficult to find campgrounds but finding availability on weekends can be tough.  I foresee Wal-Mart Parking lots in my future.  Something I vowed never to do.  I would prefer to find campgrounds that allow stays of 10 -14 nights with full hook-ups.  Public campgrounds (National, state and county parks) prohibit stays longer than 14 nights.  But, public campgrounds rarely offer full hook-ups, no sewer connection means using public toilets and showers and very judicious use of water in the trailer for dishwashing.  I can stay just about a week before the black tank is full and requires a trip to a dump station.  If I am going to hook-up the trailer and drive to dump the black tank/wastewater tank, I might as well move along and try a new spot.

This summer there will be lots of moving, and places where I don’t know anyone.  Thank goodness Maggie is so great at introducing us to fellow travelers.  Two great apps for RVers help planning routes and stays, paper maps are a thing of the past.  AllStays and RVWizard are apps that show campgrounds, truck stops, rest areas, Wal-Marts, road elevation and grade, and low bridges.  RVWizard allows your route to be exported into an Excel spreadsheet, invaluable.

Tentatively, I have decided to head north to Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin where I have friends and family.  See a good part of the Great Lakes and Niagra Falls.  I will swing east in late August and head to Maine to visit my new golf pal Diane.  I plan to spend October to the election in North Carolina for GOTV hopefully defeating Trump, and electing Joe Biden.  Thanksgiving with Family in Chapel Hill, and then south again for winter TBD.

If you are in any of the places mentioned above beware!  More to follow and finalize, but for now, I will enjoy my FL winter and get Scout ready for 3,000+ miles of real “FULL-TIME RV” travel.  The travel will give me lots of time to write and I am certain there will be trials and tribulations to report on. 

Also, if you are reading on FaceBook please subscribe to this blog.  Go to www.Road2Reinvention.net and look for the picture of Maggie on the right, enter your email address in the space below.  Thanks and Stay Tuned!

PITCH IT IN THE BIN

I have seven days to finish emptying my 5’x5’x10′ storage unit.  Thanks to Craig’s list and Facebook Marketplace I have sold stuff for $20 to $50 and donated lots to the Hospice Thrift Shop. At my first meeting with a potential buyer, she agreed to meet at 10:30 a.m.  At 10:20 a.m. she texted to say she was just leaving; 45 minutes later, she shows up and says, no I don’t I want it.  A harbinger of things to come?  Luckily and my other sales have gone well and I am down to family photos and odds and ends.  I only wish I had done this when I left Washington, D.C., and not brought stuff to FL.  The D.C. population is very transient lots of college students and interns.  What was I thinking?  For a moment I thought I might buy a condo in Florida, so a storage unit made sense at the time.

I have stopped my autopay and will be out of the storage unit on February 28.  Whatever is left is going to be “chucked in the bin”.  It is the family photos I feel really bad about, but a woman with no kids, don’t have anyone to give photos to, so they will be the last to be chucked.

After 4 years, I really didn’t remember what I thought I wanted, or would want?  I am surprised every time I open a box.  Boxes of books?  Sheets, pillows and other linens?  And, a lot of kitchen stuff.   I admit I love kitchen gadgets, pots, and pans, my Cuisinart food processor, Kitchen Aid mixer, etc.   

I did find my Imelda Marcos golf shoe collection.  They are all in plastic shoe boxes, and in great shape.  Did I really need all those golf shoes?  Did Imelda ever ask herself if she needed all those shoes?  I have two pairs of golf shoes in Scout, and they do me just fine.

It is my 66 birthday and seems the very best time to lighten the load.  When my Dad died all he had to his name was a watch.  We gave it away, what are four daughters going to do with a silly man’s watch. 

Seven days and counting with some cash in hand, and FREE of stuff!

 

PET PEEVES

Today while driving to my storage unit to get rid of one more thing I encountered an angry driver.  Having lived in a city for 17 years I learned city driving techniques. First and foremost “don’t block the box”.  This means when a traffic light is about to turn red, don’t be in the middle of the intersection.  However, drivers in Florida don’t seem to understand the concept. 

Two lanes of traffic plus a left turn lane.  A driver coming out of CVS parking lot, most likely a senior citizen picking up an overpriced prescription.  Call him Driver A, he wants to cross two lanes of traffic and get into the left turn lane.  The traffic signal is red and lots of cars are in all lanes.  I stop to let Driver A cross in front of me, he blocks the second lane, but the light is still red.

Up comes another driver who proceeds to lay on his horn.  Driver A is blocking his lane, but the light is red and no one is moving.  Luckily the passenger rolls down her window to shout at me about the car blocking their path.  I say, “he is trying to get into the left turn lane”.   To which she gives me the finger and says something very colorful.  At this moment the left turn light changes to green and Driver A is allowed to enter the lane and goes on his merry way.  However, the traffic is backed up and the finger lady and companion driver advance three cars and the light turns red.  They are again stuck in traffic.  Perfect, I come alongside of them and smile.  She rolls down her window and says, “have a nice day”.  I say, “hope you do the same”.

This is one of my pet peeves.  People in a hurry to go nowhere. 

In retirement, you are never in a hurry.  I even enjoy driving slowly so the stupid driver behind me can’t race up to that red light and stop.  Even better they pass me in a terrible rush, and we meet at the next red light.  I smile and wave.

Another pet peeve is shopping carts.  If you are elderly and infirmed I understand you can’t take your shopping cart back to the front door or to a cart stand in the parking lot.   I am not sure you should be driving, but that is another issue.  I try to park next to the shopping cart return stall.  It helps me find my car and makes it easy to return my cart.  So, the other day at Total Wine a guy unloads a couple of boxes of alcohol into his very big SUV and leaves his cart on the sidewalk.  If you are able to drive an SUV and buy lots of alcohol, shouldn’t you be able to return your shopping cart, so you don’t block the sidewalk?  Guess naught.

The same goes for people in grocery stores.  Are you completely unaware of the people around you?  YES.  So, you stand in the middle of the aisle, and leave your shopping cart a few yards away, with absolutely no perception of people around you.  Shoppers who are trying to get by or look at something on the same aisle. 

Yikes, look around you, please.  And, please don’t get me started on adults shopping with kids.   Can’t you leave them at home?

And finally, when you are standing in a very long line at the movie theater can’t you look up at the lighted menu and know what you want?  You have been in line for at least 5 minutes, but you don’t know what you want?  See that big lighted sign telling you everything on the menu and the price.  Why are you waiting till you get to the counter to look up and read the menu?

These are just a few of my pet peeves.  Thank goodness I don’t carry a gun.  No, I just smile and say have a great day.

DO WE REALLY NEED ALL THAT STUFF?

Living in a 20′ Airstream makes you very conscientious of things. Buy something new something old needs to go. Selling a three-story row house in Washington, D.C. to begin the Road2Reinvention, I sold, donated and just gave away most of my stuff. Doing so I felt like I was throwing hundred dollar bills out the window. I wish I had bought Nordstrom stock instead of all those shoes.  At the time those shoes look awesome. Bad decisions all around. Shoes, clothes, and stuff didn’t make me happy. I am so very happy now.

The self-storage industry in the United States boasts more than 50,000 facilities and roughly 3 billion square feet of rentable space making over $38 billion annually. The Millennials seem to have their “stuff” together, they don’t want stuff!

I am so very grateful niece Rachel and Adam were happy to get my Christmas ornaments and fly fishing gear.  I haven’t had a Christmas tree since I left Anchorage in 1995, or put a line in the water.  More boxes GONE!  Rachel was born to fish, here she is with her 1st King Salmon caught at the King Bear lodge.

I have been paying $56 a month for a 5’x5’x12′ storage unit, thinking someday I might want walls again. HA!

You do the math. After 4 years, I could buy that stuff ten times over. A Cuisinart food processor, Kitchen Aid mixer, favorite kitchen utensils, some small furniture, and who knows what else? I went to the storage unit for the first time in 2 years. Visiting stuff you haven’t seen in 2 years isn’t fun — it is downright depressing.  Should I just stop paying the bill and maybe see my stuff on that reality TV show where weird people buy storage units hoping to find a forgotten treasure? Very tempting.

The plan is to take pictures and put stuff on Facebook Market Place and maybe Craig’s list. I hope to get $20+ for each item of stuff that cost me much more.

It is the personal stuff I don’t know what to do with, pictures, etc.  What does a single woman with no kids do with pictures? Toss them into a dumpster? I have posted some old photos on my Facebook page, so they will live forever on the world wide web after I am gone. Not that anyone will care.  Before leaving D.C. I sent a box to an outfit that converted photos and slides to a CD.  But, kids these days don’t even know what slides are.  OK, boomer.

All I have to say to anyone reading this, don’t buy that stuff! Remember when President W told us all “to go shopping” after 9/11. That made me stop shopping for several months. But, I was still working and those Nordstroms shoes looked so marvelous. I just left two of my favorite pair today at the Hospice Thrift Store in Stuart, FL. In Florida, there are Thrift stores on every corner and in every strip mall. You can furnish many homes shopping thrift stores in Florida. And, I am not talking Goodwill. There are consignment stores with stuff that originally cost big bucks. Michelle and I went down to Palm Beach the other day and she got two Persian rugs for $300 each. They are huge rugs that would cost $3,000 or more in any rug store. Florida is where people go to die.  So donating to the Hospice Thrift store should mean something.

I am committed to getting rid of whatever the Fu*k is in my storage unit, saving $56 a month. If I can live without it for four years, I don’t need it, whatever it is? 

I have everything I need in my 20′ Airstream.  In fact, I have too much stuff, even in Scout.  Walking on the beach every day, playing golf, and just enjoying life.  The Three G; Gas, Groceries and Green fees.  What else does a single woman need?  Certainly not stuff.