Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Where to from Here??

Ok, so yesterday was my announcement post but I'm already getting lots of questions about what we are planning now.

As you might imagine, most of the hours in my day right now are spent reorganizing activities and ‘pulling back’ at work, followed by a lot of time at home studying budgets, healthcare, unemployment, 401K rollovers, and travel plans. It’s all falling in to place very nicely and I’m honestly enjoying the transition.

Here’s some of what’s in store in the months to come….

As soon as I head out the door at work next week, Ken wants to take the motorhome on a short run to Carlinville. His purpose is two-fold. At the Escapade RV rally he purchased an electrical management system to basically protect the motorhome against damage from 'dirty electricity' you often encounter when hooking in to power supplies across the continent. He has since hardwired this in to the motorhome electrical system and wants to test it out on a short trip before we head out for a week or more at a time.

Also, our oldest son, Kyle will actually be closing on the purchase of his first home on June 29th. While he doesn't plan to move until the weekend of July 11th, Ken and Kyle want to spend a day or two scoping out the house and deciding what kind of projects they think they should tackle before the July 11th move. (hmmm...still in project management mode, aren't I?!?) We figure we can spend a day or two at Beaver Dam State Park, make sure all the motorhome electrical is performing as expected and also lay out a plan-of-attack for what's to be done July 6-11.

We'll then book it back to Quincy on July 3rd so that we can prepare for our annual July 4th Croquet Tournament and Picnic. We invite both of our brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. We just serve brats and nachos, tea and lemonade and let everyone bring lawn chairs and anything else they'd like to eat and drink. Very laid back. This year Ken's niece, Monica will be visiting Quincy so we're hoping lots of her cousins have the opportunity to drop in and say 'hi'.

After the 4th of July, Ken and I will take the motorhome down there and help Kyle get settled in his new home. It’s a small house in town about 8 blocks from the square. He’ll need to purchase all the appliances, refrigerator, range, dishwasher, washer, dryer and then all of the household items that he hasn’t had to worry about before like a lawnmower. The owners are also taking all of the window treatments so that will be another project. While this 90 year-old house is in very good shape (even the inspector was surprised), Ken and Kyle still have a growing project list of things they’d like to get done, including moving the shower nozzle to a more reasonable height for a 6’2” guy, installing a separate dishwasher/cabinet area in the kitchen and maybe even doing some floor upgrades in the kitchen. For some strange reason, the prior owners made the entire exterior maintenance free EXCEPT for the soffets. If the weather cools down a bit we may tackle getting a new coat of paint on those this year, although longterm he needs to get those sided as well. The great part about it is Ken and I have no pressing schedules and so can take our time. If Ken needs an ‘eat-and-sleep’ day to accommodate his health issues, no problem, I don’t have to be anywhere!!

While Kyle’s backyard is huge and the alley entrance easily accommodates our motorhome, at least for now we plan to continue to stay at Beaver Dam State Park when we visit since it is only 7 miles away from his house. They have 50 amp service to accommodate our 2 air conditioners and with Ken’s disability discount it’s only $15 a night during the week. Makes it a little less like Mom and Dad are 'in his face' all the time if we are not parked in his backyard.

Jenni will be moving down to Carlinville the same weekend that Kyle moves to his new house. She will be taking over the lease on Kyle’s apartment. This fall she starts a new teaching job at the parochial school in Staunton, IL which is about 15 miles south of Carlinville.

We found out yesterday that our dear friend, Donna Ellsworth and her sons, Kenny (yes, Ken's his godfather!) and Brian, will make the trip from Atlanta to visit Quincy between July 16th and the 22nd, so we will probably try to get back to Quincy from Carlinville by the weekend of July 18th so we can spend some time with them.

Because so much of my work team is on the road right now, they’ve decided to wait until we will be back from Carlinville, July 21st, to give me a ‘retirement luncheon’, so our calendar is really beginning to fill quickly.

There’s also the annual EIU Panther Golf outing in late July. We’ll spend a few days up by Champaign, IL to attend that event. In the past I’ve never been able to attend but usually some of the players join Ken in spending the nights in the RV.

Besides all of those activities, when Ken and I are back in Quincy, we will continue to work on remodeling the second floor of our house. We are stripping all the popcorn off the ceilings, eliminating all the 20 year old wallcoverings, putting up new woodwork, along with wood flooring and ceramic tile. The master bath will get an even bigger face lift with a new ceramic tiled shower with a skylight above and new vanity with granite countertop. I’ll be learning a whole new set of ‘skills’ over the next few months! Even if we should decide to fulltime RV in a year, we think these are 'saleable' upgrades.

Our availalbe time for the remodeling projects will be sparse however, since by the end of August it's time for our final EIU football season. This will be a blast this year considering we are not going to be rushing back to Quincy every Sunday for me to go back to work. We really won’t plan to be home much during that time and are lucky to have family and neighbors happy to keep an eye on our ‘stick n bricks’ so we can really get a feel for how we are adjusting to being on the road for longer periods. We’ve never gone more than 17 days on the road together and that was with Kyle and Trev along, so we’ll start experimenting with how it feels to be truly living on the road. That said, we are still thinking we’ll fly to Penn State on the team plane since that would be an awesome experience to spend that whole weekend with the team and since it would not be a leisurely trip to go from a Charleston home game to middle of Pennsylvania and then back to Charleston home game the next weekend. Even with that plain trip thrown in, it looks like we will be spending the majority of our nights September thru November sleeping in the motorhome.

It will be December before things settle down from football and then after the holidays we’ll probably look to take a long trip down South or Southwest, but that’s just getting too far out to get too detailed at this point.

So that’s the plan and we feel blessed that we can change it on a whim!!

Hugs, C

Btw….I promise that I’ll start adding pictures again in the coming weeks!!

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