In the last month I have been busy dredging up information on what I hope to be the next great experience of my life! What I am feeling, however, is kind of a let down. I know so little about camping, that even when viewing videos from Phil that are intended to show me how easy things are, I feel intimidated, wondering if my excitment will continue in the face of taking down and putting up by myself.
The idea of solitude continues to plague me. I have always been a person who takes tremendous joy and comfort in sharing experiences with another person. Being alone and watching a beautiful sunset or sunrise, building a fire, cooking something to eat...these are all things that I would prefer to share with someone. I confess that my enthusiasm lags when I try to picture myself doing these things alone, but I have to accept that is never going to change. So, I can either sit in my tiny apartment alone (which is actually easier to take because its too small for more than one person) or I can at least try to find some fun and joy in life by going out on the road. I think I will take the road, and so the search continues.
My recent search, thanks again to Phil, has brought me to other options than the Teardrop trailer. One is a "time out trailer" that is often used with a motorcycle. It is pulled along in a low platform that, when you get where you want to be, opens up into a one or two person sleeping arangement. The outside is canvas, and it has several screened windows that provide ventilation. It is only a sleeper; no seating or benches, but you can put luggage, etc. on top of the container which is hooked up to your vehicle. This one seems to start around $3,000 and goes up.
These are pretty similar to the pop up trailer that I think we have all seen at one time or another, but smaller and more creative in design. In fact, even though the one I looked at only had a bed in it, I think there might be others that would be larger and have a place to sit on a rainy day.
The other product I have looked at is a "Scamp." Oddly enough there seems to be tons of interest in vintage campers, in a variety of disrepair, and a growing number of people who really enjoy fixing them up. I have to say, some of them are really cute! If I still had a house to put a camper in the garage, it might be fun for me to take one of these on and fix it up on my own time. But since I don't have a place to store and paint this type of vehicle, I would probably have to buy one that is already refurbished... and pricey! Unfortunately, it looks like I would also have to travel a bit to reach them; there doesn't seem to be a lot in the Midwest.
I still plan on going to Missouri after the first of the year to look at some teardrop campers, and possibly rent one for a weekend to see if it's something I like doing on my own. I am going with my daughter Patty and will try to get a video of the eperience. Until then, I will continue to search.
Well, it's been a while since I was here, and while I have been a little busy doing other things, I have taken the time to do some research on what it is I want to do. Since I very little experience with camping, I really had to sit and figure out not only what I would like, but also take in any limitations I feel I have. I have to be careful not to say "I can't" because my friend Phil doesn't believe in those words.
I have looked at both types of trailers (pull along or ride along) and tried to figure out how comfortable I am with the process of hooking up my car and towing that behind a ride along. There's so much that is appealing on both levels, but I do keep going back to the smaller versions (i.e. Teardrops, Little Guys, etc.) because I would like to be able to pull something with my Scion xB and that way, I won't have to do a lot of work in regards to getting set up and taken down.
So I looked into some websites for the Teardrop Trailer and found a dealership in Missouri that even has them for rent! Of course they sell them too, but I think it would be fun to just take one on a long weekend somewhere before I commit to something that is likely pretty expensive. I registered on a site that has forum that I can get more information about these campers. I also checked to see if my Scion would be able to pull one and apparently, there are no problems with a car that size pulling a teardrop camper. One even commented on seeing a motorcycle pulling one.
It is now November, and of course the holidays are approaching rapidly, and thoughts of camping and being outside will be less and less as the winter takes over. But I did find out this week that my good friend Carol actually has camping on her bucket list. We are already planning a road trip to Chicago next spring to look in on my parent's graves and see if they need any maintenance, but we will try and coordinate some kind of festival or event in Chicago that would make the trip more worthwhile. I wonder if this would be a good time to rent a teardrop trailer, but maybe not. Somehow I don't see Chicago as being a good place for camping! But there are so many other places we could go in our little camper, so that is what I am going to focus on.
I did find a super teardrop camper and Woody to pull it, all decked out in wood on the outside. It was adorable! But I'm sure well beyond my means.
Sometimes this winter, I will try and get to the Missouri Teardrop dealership just to have a gander at these little things, and I will report back here. It's hard for me to imagine that you can actually sleep in them! More to come. Any comments Phil?
Talked to Phil yesterday to discuss the different types of campers that might fit my needs. There is one commonly known as a "tear drop" that is just an adorable little thing that might be able to be pulled behind my car. It has no bathroom or shower, but in all truth, I am not sure that would be important to me. When I travel now, I have no problem stopping at rest stops along the way and I imagine longer trips would be the same way. Showering, however, might be a different thing. How long can you go without bathing?
Phil was nice enough to take the time to answer some of the questions I had in my first post. Apparently I do not need "muscle" which is a big relief to me, but I do need to make sure I have a AAA membership. I have actually been thinking about getting that anyway, but it certainly would add to my comfort to know there is that to fall back on.
I also did some research on vehicles on my own. I looked at Craig's list to see what independent seller were asking, and then to dealerships for used vehicles. I thought going with a dealership would be a good choice, because they would be in better repair, but the prices were staggering. I did find out what a "fifth wheel" is. It's a trailer with an extension of the pickup truck where you can put a mattress for extra sleeping space. Not something I would use. I am leary about buying anything from an independent seller, because I think these things can hold a lot of hidden problems that a novice such as myself would not see.
Well, first things first. I have to find out if my Scion would be able to pull something like a teardrop.
This is going to be a series of posts about possible decisions I will make for the rest of my life. This is the first of many, I hope.
I have a new friend, PF, in my life who has presented me with a possibility for a future adventure; he has planted a seed. I want to explain the uniqueness of this person here because it will make this discussion clearer.
The Urban Dictionary describes "friend" as:
"people who are aware of how retarded you are and still manage to be seen in public with you. people who make you laugh till you pee your pants. people who when you don't have enough money to get a ice cream, they chip in. who would never make you cry just to be mean."
That pretty much describes PF, except to say that I trust him to be honest and this whole idea started with him.
So, on to the seed.
The idea, in a nutshell, is for me (and only me) to buy a motor home of some sort and travel to where I want to be, to the people I want to be with, and when the time is right, move on to the next family member or friend. Sounds easy enough I guess, but there are a lot of hard questions that need answering. Do I need to be strong? Would I need to find muscle every time I stopped? Would I be safe? What if I broke down in the middle of nowhere? Could I afford it? What would I do with all of my stuff that liters my tiny apartment ?
So this is the beginning. I will post here when I make progress or move closer to making a decision. My lease expires next May, but I have a lot of work to do before then. I will post on research I am doing and my thoughts as I continue to ponder the possibilities. I will post pictures when possible.
Any comments as I go along would be helpful! Phil?
Today is the Sunday before a couple of things happen. By this time next week, I may have some idea about where I am headed and I hope it's to a place I really want to go!
Des Moines has been my home for many years but it will probably not be where I wind up. I am in the process now of downsizing and that task has been so much harder than I ever imagined. Everywhere I look, I ask myself "do I really need that?" and my decision dictates what I do with a particular item. The basement is now home to a wicker rocker, a CD file, and many other things that fall into the category of "don't need." NEED seems to be the operative word, and I admit to taking some liberties.
For example, I don't really need pictures of my mother and grandmother but I certainly want them. My mother's smiling, happy, teenage face has been gracing my living room for many, many years and I am not about to go forward without it. I'm sure I can find a place for it, where I can look at it now and then and imagine what she was thinking. My grandmother's picture is smaller and she is standing outside the apartment building where we lived in Chicago. She looks like Gram, but I have recently found a picture of her outside another apartment building, but she is much, much younger. It is a great picture and I'm so happy I found it. I love pictures of my family who have passed, but I'm getting side-tracked here.
So the house is clearing out nicely, and I am trying to prepare for a visit with a real estate agent to see what I can expect in the way of selling. And we all know what comes after that - weeks and weeks of constant monitoring to be sure everything is in place just on the outside chance that there might be buyers stopping by the see the place. Ugh! That's the part I hate.
Gotta to go Mass. More later.
This morning they predicted really heavy snows for next Tuesday, almost by accident. The weather person said she hadn't intended to show us the approaching purple, but it just crept up anyway and there it was, covering the screen. My first reaction was that I need to get on the snow blower's list early, but then I realized that there would be no rush. With this much advanced notice, I can stock up, and I won't have to get out - early or otherwise. Such a nice perk about retirement is that you don't have to go anywhere if you don't want to.
My problem is I never want to. I could easily become a hermit. But getting back to the retirement business, on the surface you might wonder why everyone isn't just so excited about the opportunities that retirement brings. I mean, you can sleep in, only do things you like to do, can even waste time if that is your choice. But way down deep there is this tiny kernel of fear that once you turn this corner there is no going back, and it just becomes a waiting game.
I admit that in my youth, if I thought of retirement at all, it was completely different than what the reality is. First of all, I would be married, and together we would find our way through having so much time to spend together. Secondly, I would no be as poor as I am. My tastes are simple, so I never saw myself traveling or buying expensive motor homes to travel in, in retirement, but I did think that I would be sort of okay. The main thing was that I wouldn't be alone.
But alone I am and in the next couple of months, there will likely be a lot of changes in my household. I will be selling my house because my income is not sufficient to pay all the maintenance and utilities that I incur over a months time living here. I will go back to renting. The problem right now is, I really LIVE in this house. I have crap all over the place - yarn stash, paper stash, computers, knick knacks, memorabilia, you name it. Paring down this sizable haul is going to take a considerable effort. And there is no one to help.
I'll keep you posted on how that goes in my follow up's.
It has been a week since I stopped working. For some reason, when I tell people this news I feel compelled to remind them how old I am. Just so they don't think I am giving up too soon, or being lazy, I guess but I think it is curious why I do that. Well, also, my income has shrunk by half and I think people will wonder, since I am so poor, why I don't just continue.
I think I will miss working and after a week have already figured out that I will need to make a new plan. My days so far have left me at odds. I can't seem to get my rhythm back and spend the days aimlessly instead of productively - and then, because I am Catholic, I feel guilty about that. Guilty about the snacking I'm doing, about sleeping too much, well - if you are Catholic you know what I mean.
In my working days, I did laundry on Sundays and if I missed doing laundry for some reason, I wouldn't do it again until the following Sunday. No mid-week laundry for me; it didn't even occur to me. It's like garbage day - if you miss it, there's always next week. I ate dinner at 5-ish. I went to bed between 9 and 10. I slept approximately 7 hours, with Penny waking me up at 5:00 a.m.
I've been trying to convince Penny that I no longer need to get up so early, but she isn't listening to me because I still go to bed between 9-10 p.m. When I get up in the morning, I feed her first and then make myself a cup of coffee. I sit and watch the news and knit. In the past I was in my pj's no later than 7 a.m. and then I would shower, do my hair, dress, makeup and wait for 8:45 to leave for work. Sometimes I would go back to knitting while I waited.
Now, I can eat whenever I want. It doesn't have to be at regular times; I can even combine meals if I want. I can have spaghetti at 9 p.m. if is suits me. But I won't. Yesterday I was, for some reason, falling asleep on the couch at 2:00 so I thought I was take a short nap. I woke up at 4:30. Then, when 9:00 rolled around, I was tired enough to go to bed and sleep until 5:00 this morning. I felt guilty about wasting an entire afternoon, but more to the point I wondered why I was so tired! Is this what retirement is going to be like for me? I think I need more to do. Maybe I will volunteer somewhere. More on that later.
I can't believe I haven't written anything here for so long. So much has changed since the last time, but here is a well-deserved update.
The holidays are over - finally - and I find myself without a job. It was a mutually agreed upon decision and even though I am only into day 2 of retirement, I am feeling quite good about it. I am going to have to volunteer somewhere because I have a natural tendency to be reclusive, and that has never been good for me. And the money is going to be an issue soon, but not today.
Of course I am going to try and do the things I love so much, writing and knitting, but they are both very isolating and sedentary activities. I did mall walking yesterday morning and that was great, except I found the leg burn after only one mile was a little disappointing.
I have always taken comfort in plans. Knowing what's coming, feeling good about the possibilities and so on. For some time, I have not felt that security. Actually, picking a date to retire is like waiting for the other shoe to fall. Friends and family kept telling me that I should work as long as possible, that I don't look as old as I am. But the truth is I am experiencing what every older person experiences - a little memory loss, getting flustered over stressful situations, etc. There is a reason people retire at this age, and I think I have gone well beyond what most people would consider a good time to call it quits.
So, you can take this adventure with me! I will post again and let you know how the low-income retirement plans are coming, and what I am doing to still put food on the table.
Oh my goodness, is there anything worse than a clingy cat? Penny has draped herself over my shoulder on the couch, over my feet on the floor; follows me all around the house and yells at me periodically. I feel like just making her go outside, but she always manages to bring wild life back with her, still alive. I am not in the mood to deal with that again, so in she stays.
I have an assignment, which I hope will be well met. The assignment is to write a first hand experience from the old testament. In other words, to insert a character as yet unknown into known biblical events. The story I have chosen is the Book of Ruth. I am intrigued by the loveliness of the story, but on doing research I find it is much more complex than a young woman simply swearing allegiance to her aged mother-in-law. There are customs to be dealt with and arrangements to be made. But I have inserted myself as the younger sister of the husband of Ruth and have found her to be a sweet and loving person. I haven't gotten too far in my story assignment, but I think I am on the right track.
This is Sunday morning and it just half past dark. I will be at Mass in two hours (8:30 a.m.) and then I will come home and put on my work out clothes. Head to the Y, which I recently joined. Last week this time period was not all that well-attended and that is just the way I like it. Despite that, there was a man using the only gut buster machine they have and I was unable to attack my one big problem area. I hope he is in church himself this morning so I can get started on this.
Then I will come home and try again to get the lawn mower started. I keep thinking I am going to develop some arm muscle, but so far I have been disappointed.
Writing about my sister-in-law Ruth will come later today. I must write a story worth ten pages, so I will have to come up with what it was like to live in that time. Wish me luck!
I have been traveling the last week and had no time or opportunity to write, although I did think about it every day. I returned home yesterday around noon and had an eerie feeling of disquiet for the rest of the day. I was having trouble just landing anywhere, but I couldn't leave the house because my cat Penny was so clingy. I felt completely exhausted and finally gave up and went to bed around 8:30 p.m., which was early even for me. I woke again around 5:30 a.m. and the house was dark and quiet. I could hear the early morning birds outside of my windows and the feeling of new beginnings was wonderful.
I knew this was it; the time to write. I didn't turn on many lights, but made myself a cup of instant coffee and went to my computer. Ideas were forming. What should I write? I often wish that letter writing was still in vogue - how wonderful it would be to pen a letter in the early morning hours of a day, and then send it on it's way. But there is no one in my life who cannot receive emails instead, or texts, or any other electronic means of communication, so that idea is lost.
But maybe it isn't. Maybe it would be interesting to write letters from a fictitious character, who lived long ago. A character who is struggling with war; or someone who is waiting for a loved-one to return home. She could write her mother, her father, her older sister, telling one or all of them about her fears on a dark Saturday morning, just waiting for the day to dawn.
Another idea to consider?