Living Laughing And Creating

Loving Life On A Budget

4 Months of House Building & RV Living

It’s amazing to me how far the house has come in four months. Even with a few weeks of bad weather, things have moved along nicely. They only have a little more to brick and then they will pour our concrete porches. That would have been done this week, but the weather has been too cold for them to finish.

House bricked

 

On Tuesday, the power company came out and moved the meter over to the house. Our temporary power pole is gone, and we now have a long cord from the camper to the side of the house. Yes, there will always be a RV hook-up on the side of our house….a subtle reminder of our RV living adventure. Finally having power allowed them to cut some heat on in the house, so the floors can acclimate and start being finished next week.

Power to House

 

On Wednesday night, it dropped to a very chilly 8 degrees. The heat kept up pretty well. Unfortunately, some of our water pipes froze. We could only get cold water out of the bathtub and bathroom sink, and water would not come out of the kitchen sink. Since we could at least get cold water, we put some in a large pot to warm on the stove for bathing. The optimistic side of me was very happy to have good hot water to wash my hair, because what I warmed on the stove was warmer than what usually comes out the shower. After putting a large kerosene heater under the camper for several hours, water began to flow again. Since it was going to be very cold again last night, we shut off the water pump and blew out the lines before going to bed. Thank goodness we had running water this morning when we cut the pump back on.

After four months of RV living, this camper is getting smaller by the day. I’m not going to lie, the trunk of my car is full of stuff I just needed to get out of here but don’t want to put in storage. At any time, I can pull travel bags, clothes, and even bedding out my car. Today I added some Christmas decorations from the tree I decorated for school. The thing I’m ready for the most is the ability to have a place for everything, so I don’t have to deal with the clutter anymore. If I had to do this again, I would organize the camper a little differently, and put more things in storage. With the end in sight, I see no reason to go to all that trouble now, however I think it would have made our time in the camper more pleasant.

We continue to learn new lessons through this experience, and we still do not regret the decisions we’ve made. Hopefully within the next month we will be moving into our new home. If not, our cozy little camper will continue to serve our needs. 🙂

Leave a comment »

3 Months of RV Living and House Building

I can’t believe we have been living out here for three months! Time has really flown by, and for that I am grateful. To think there was nothing in this field three months ago is crazy. I’m so excited by all the progress that has been made, and I’m hoping in another couple months we will be moving into our new home. I’m going to be honest….I haven’t actually gone into the house in about two weeks. That’s so sad…I know! First, I don’t like going in while people are working, because I don’t want to be in the way. However, by the time I get home from work, it’s dark outside and the house is not hooked up to power yet. The second reason is because it’s difficult to get in and out of the house on that little ramp at the door. The people working don’t have a problem with it, but I do. It wasn’t bad when it was nailed to the floor, but it is not nailed down anymore. I’m scared of heights and falling, so I don’t go in unless my husband is there to hold my hand. Considering he almost flipped off of that ramp the other day means my concerns are valid, and that makes me feel better.

Since the last time I posted, things were moving a little slow due to Thanksgiving and cold/rainy weather. The week of Thanksgiving, they came to hang the sheet rock. Since then, they have been slowly finishing it. The guys doing that have been very careful to make sure everything was drying well before sanding the walls. Since the weather has been so cold, they have been here about every other day.

Living Room Dry Wall

A couple days ago, they finished the dry wall in the main areas of the house. The next day, painters showed up to start priming and painting. That same day, the tile guy arrived. In only a couple days, he has the tile laid in all the bathrooms and the laundry room.

Tile Cutting

In order for us to have the power company come hook the house up to power, the brick has to be done at least to the area where the meter box goes. The masons are still finishing up another project, but they came out the other day and got the brick laid to the point we can have power hooked up. Hopefully our electrician will be here today to get everything ready for the power company.

Brick Day 1As for life in the RV, I have a couple complaints. I miss cooking, and I miss having my washer and dryer. Other than that, we are doing well. This morning it was 26 degrees here, and our water line had frozen. Thankfully, our tanks did not, so we still had water to shower. After 3 months, we still do not regret our decision to live in the RV, but we are ready for the house to be finished. I definitely could not live in the RV with no end in sight, but it’s not so bad when we can watch the progress of our new home each day. 🙂

2 Comments »

We’ve Been A Little Cold

We have adjusted fairly well to RV living, but we were also fully aware that once winter hit we would have to make some adjustments. It looks like fall decided to leave early this year and winter has already started. When we saw the temperatures were going to get into the 20’s, we made all the necessary preparations. We turned on the tank heaters, filled the tanks and disconnected the outside water source, then hoped for the best. Fortunately, all of these preparations worked well, and nothing in the camper has frozen…yet. What took us by surprise was waking up cold at 5am Tuesday morning. My face was freezing, and I knew something was wrong. I woke up my husband, and he realized right away that it was too cold in the camper. After working on the furnace for over two hours, he had to go to work, and I was still without heat. During his lunch break, he came home and pulled the furnace out. The guy at the local camper place was super nice and had it ready for pick-up by 5pm. It turns out a safety switch had gone bad and the furnace would not turn on unless that switch was working. After 14 hours with no heat in very cold weather, we finally were up and running again. The good news is I wasn’t too cold, because I got use to bundling up last winter when we were only running the wood stove. It wasn’t the most pleasant day, but it all worked out. We knew we would have bumps in the road living in the RV, and that was a chance we were willing to take. Now if I could get several more days of warm weather, I would really be a happy camper! 🙂

Leave a comment »

1 Month in the RV

Well, we made it through the first month! Time is moving quickly, and we are getting more comfortable in this small living area. We know as winter approaches we will face a whole new set of challenges, but for now we are enjoying the fall weather.

Last weekend, we didn’t really go anywhere. The weather was great, so we enjoyed some time outside. My husband got his model airplane out of storage and flew it around the property.

airplane flying

 

He enjoyed himself until the wind caught it and the airplane got stuck in a tree. After we finally got it down, we decided the airplane would be returning to storage. Then he built us a fire and we enjoyed the cool fall weather.

fire pit

From these pictures, you can see we are dealing with a lot of red dirt. That’s the biggest battle I face on a daily basis….the battle to keep everything clean. When it’s not raining, we stay outside a lot and that makes keeping ourselves, the dogs, and the camper clean a challenge. We are starting to get some nice patches of grass, but it’s still not helping a lot.

Between waiting on inspectors and dealing with a lot of rain, they are a couple days behind at this point. Tuesday an 18 wheeler loaded down with block showed up. He unloaded the truck using a fun three wheeled forklift and set the pallets of block all around the poured footers.

block set out

The crew showed up at 7am the next morning to start working on the foundation.

starting foundation

I was fighting allergies and, even though I wasn’t feeling well, this crew of 9 guys made me feel like such a slacker. By lunchtime, they had over half the foundation done.

finished section of foundation

By the time I got home from work, they were gone and we had a completed foundation. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture on my phone. We have tons on the camera, but I haven’t learned how to pull pictures off the new camera yet.

The next day, nothing got done simply because we were waiting on the county inspector. He decided to show up about 7pm.

Friday our builder was waiting on lumber to be delivered, so basically the only thing that got done last week was the foundation. We finally got to close on our loan Friday as well.

In other news, with all the traffic in and out the driveway I was searching for a way for my dogs to play safely. I found a nice nearby kennel that offers doggie day care. My husband prefers to call it “day kenneling.” We needed somewhere just in case we needed to board them anyway, so I took them to be evaluated and see how they would respond. After our closing, we went to pick them up. I was relieved to hear they had shown no form of aggression towards any of the dogs they put in the yard with them! I really wasn’t sure how Daisy would do, but I was very proud of her for behaving herself. Evidently they had fun, because they passed out time they got home and slept all night. This will be a great option for days when I’m busy and need them to have exercise and they get to socialize with other dogs. Now I just need to find somewhere to get them a bath that’s reasonably priced.

We had a fun and busy weekend. It rained buckets Saturday morning, but when it cleared up we headed over to the Pumpkin Festival. I enjoyed looking at crafts and getting ideas with Heather while my husband strolled her 3 month old. When he wasn’t taking a million pictures of the baby in the stroller, he was redesigning the stroller in his head to be more off-road friendly. He agreed to join us because he always enjoys the food and entertainment. We try to go to the Pumpkin Festival every year, because it’s an outing we both enjoy. After getting back home, we headed over to Lowe’s to pick out our shingles for the house.

We woke up Sunday morning to more rain….I’m just waiting on the camper to turn into a boat and float away. I told my builder this morning that he is not allowed to give me any more predictions about when he plans to finish the house, because it has done nothing but rain since he did that on Thursday. Anyway, Sunday afternoon in the middle of the downpour we headed over to Greenville to visit some friends and enjoy their 3 year old’s birthday party. I will do a post on the gift I made for him hopefully sometime this week. It was good for us to get out the camper and enjoy time with friends this weekend. Now we are just hoping the rain will pass so construction of our house can continue. 🙂

 

Leave a comment »

Two Weeks of RV Living

We have settled in to our new way of living and things have been quiet around here the past few days. We are still waiting on the bank, so nothing has been done with the house yet. I’m grateful we have had time to adjust and get the dogs settled before adding construction crews to the mix. The dogs and I go out 3 or 4 times a day and walk the perimeter of the cleared area several times, about 3 acres. In the evenings, my husband joins us for our walk after dinner.

Daisy on walk

Look at that smile! Our dogs are really loving the freedom of having more space here. I only walk them with leashes on our midday walk when there is a chance someone may come up the driveway. We have had the highway department repaving our road, so I also didn’t want them to get the idea they could go see the workers at the road either. We actually got two loads of the ground up asphalt for our driveway this week, so that will be used to fill in the places that keep washing out and give us a good base for our driveway. It’s been interesting getting in and out of our driveway this week, but they should be finished in the next couple days. Driving down the wrong side of the road on a daily basis has been fun.

Radar at window

 

Radar has found his favorite window spots. He has always greeted us and watched us leave from the window, so this just lets us know he is making himself at home. Unfortunately, his favorite window is the one over our bed. It’s a huge window and I cringe as a watch him stand on our pillows to watch us leave. I really don’t like dog hair in my bed, but there’s really no way to keep him out of that room. I have to keep remembering this is only temporary, and at least he doesn’t sleep on our bed….he just jumps up there to look out the window. Dogs in yard

 

I’m starting to get into a nice routine. I actually clean more in the camper than I did in the house. When one thing is out of place, it seems like the whole place is cluttered. I did some organizing earlier this week, so I am slowly finding ways to make this place look cleaner and a little larger. I do miss having my washer and dryer. Fortunately, we found a spot to hide all the dirty laundry. On the weekend, we go over to the local laundromat and get everything washed. Thanks to a friend, we found one that is very clean and safe, which really makes this process easier. I actually went by myself the other morning to wash our comforter.

laundromat

Now that we are conquering cleaning, organization and laundry, we are beginning to work on the cooking situation. We have actually cooked in for the past several days, and are starting to get use to this. I can’t stock groceries like I did in the house, because there is no storage. However, I can still shop the sales, even if it means going to the store a couple times a week instead of just once.

The weather is cooling off, and we are starting to learn how quickly the furnace will drain the gas tanks. We added a heater to our collection of items this week, but I’m hoping we won’t need to use it for a while. I’m looking forward to enjoying this cool fall weather. 🙂

Leave a comment »

We Survived The First Weekend!

I had originally planned to do absolutely nothing this weekend, because I had worked so hard the past couple weeks getting the house ready and moved. I neglected to remember what happens after you move…you have to do all the little things to really get settled into your new home, or in our case, the RV. I’m constantly trying to find better ways to organize things because we are in such a small space. We are estimating that our current living situation is less than 300 square feet. When one or two things are out of place, the whole area feels cramped. However, it is quite nice when everything is put away and clean.

The house closing went without problems on Friday, and then we really began our grand adventure. Let’s be honest, there was really no going back at that point. Friday evening gave us some very nice weather, so we decided to enjoy being at our new location and cook our first dinner in the RV. If you are curious, we went all out and cooked fettuccine alfredo. Part of our learning curve is learning how to cook on a gas stove.

Saturday we went to the store for various odds and ends. We knew we needed to get some carpet to put over the RV carpet. Red clay + dogs= ruined RV carpet. We went to Lowe’s with the intention of getting some of the cheap stuff they cut off the roll for you. The guy there showed us some remnants they had on sale and gave us an even better deal since they needed to get rid of it. We got a nice piece of carpet that usually sells for $90 for a whopping $30! It was more than we needed, but we put the rest in storage in case we need to replace a section or two over the next few months. Let’s just say rolling out a large piece of carpet to cut inside an RV is interesting. The funny thing is I actually like this carpet and it’s a lot softer than what was in the RV.

Radar and new carpet

We also had to go TV shopping. The TV in the living area decided it didn’t like the trip and acted slightly possessed once we got it here. It worked perfectly when we bought the camper, but I guess over the two moves to get here something went wrong. The people at the RV place warned us random things like this would happen because the RV moves and rattles when it’s on the road. The other two TVs still work, but neither were the right size to put in the living area. Yes, this small space has 3 TVs! The people who owned it before us must have been serious TV addicts. We only get one station right now, so we are going to pull our massive antenna out of storage and hook it up so we can watch something other than what’s on Fox.

Sunday it rained most of the day and the weather got cool. Fall is definitely coming, but we will get at least a few more hot days before fall really sets in. We enjoy sitting outside with the dogs in the evenings, so fall is going to be very nice. I’m grateful I brought my favorite outside chair with us.

grass weekend 1

The grass is coming up well and my husband has been working hard raking and sowing more seed to fill in the gaps. In just the four days we have been here, the growth of the grass has been very noticeable. Since they haven’t started building the house yet, it’s the small things that keep me excited. We are hoping the house building will begin this week. I’m ready to have something else to watch beside the grass growing 🙂

Leave a comment »

First Night In The Camper

Ok, so technically it was our third night in the camper, but it was our first night in our camper at the property. After sobbing uncontrollably while leaving our house for the last time (I’m a very emotional person…we knew it was coming), I began to embrace the challenges ahead. Living in a camper is easy when you are just vacationing, but it’s a totally different story when you have to have everything you need for your everyday life. We discovered very quickly that we will not be traveling while living in this camper. It would be doable, but the camper is much heavier than it would be if we were just packing a few things for a week or weekend trip. I don’t think I can fit another thing in this camper. When I get it a little better organized, I will take pictures of how it is set up. I got to the point where I had to just start throwing stuff in here without organizing simply because I had to get the house emptied and cleaned.

After getting the camper backed into the spot where our builder had put a nice graveled area, my husband went to find us some dinner. (Cooking in this camper is going to be a whole other issue.) He figured I could use some comfort food, so he came home with Chinese. This would have been great if I wasn’t sweating and too hot to eat. We are currently on limited power, so we can’t turn on the air conditioning yet. Most of our dinners went into the fridge, and we will not be ordering Chinese again unless it can be finished in one sitting. Every time the fridge door is opened, the whole camper smells like Chinese for a while.

The good news is we went out with a flashlight last night to find that we have grass! It was only planted a week ago, but it is growing well. We had some heavy rains earlier this week, so we thought most of the seed had washed away. Evidently, my Dad covered it well enough that the rain only helped it grow.

Grass Week 1

 

This brings me to one of our biggest challenges….muddy paws. It rained last night right after we got the camper set up. This red clay gets really nasty when it’s wet. So we took the dogs out and had a towel ready to wipe their paws when it was time to come inside. After only taking the dogs out twice, this is what our rug outside the door looks like.

muddy doormat

It’s a good thing we brought this rug along. It was under the washer and dryer in the house, and we thought it would be useful. I did figure out this morning that if I get the dogs to run on the gravel after traipsing through the mud then the gravel gets most of the mud out their paws. I still have to wipe their paws off, but I’m not finding clumps of mud in the camper when they come inside. I’ve got to go get some runners to cover the small amount of carpet in the camper or it will be ruined before this is over.

Overall, I don’t think this is going to be that bad. We both enjoy being out here, because it’s so nice and peaceful. This is the calming surroundings I need after such a stressful few months. Our adventure is off to a pretty good start. Now it’s time to go sign the papers and give our old house new owners. 🙂

Leave a comment »

Our RV Home: The Adventure Is About To Begin

It’s official! In about 2 weeks, we will be living in the RV. Why? This is the question most people have asked us; right after saying we’re crazy. The simple answer to that question is that it’s expensive to rent. We also thought that paying more than our current mortgage for a 2 bedroom apartment would not only be cruel to us but also to our dogs (on our land, they will have lots of room to play). So we made the decision to purchase a camper to live in while building our new home. Yes, the RV costs more than renting, however when this house is built we can sell the RV and get most of our money back. We learned during this process that RVs hold their value very well. The opportunity to save money for unexpected issues while building was also a big part of the reason we decided to go this route.

A little over a week ago, we headed over to a rather large RV dealership and found our new home on wheels. This was a great day, because now I could relax and know we had a place to live, and I finally knew how to pack the house. I have slept so much better since we made this decision! We had to leave our RV there for them to go through and check everything, so we made the appointment to go back and pick it up. Saturday we went back and, after the washing and thorough cleaning, it looked even better than I had remembered. I can’t tell you how excited we both are to start this adventure! Don’t get me wrong, we are going to enjoy living in this house with all it’s space for the next couple weeks. But when this house closes, we will be moving onto our land where we can have space and watch our new home be built. I think the coolest part of this whole experience is going to be watching the house progress on a daily basis.

RV Home

It’s rather large, isn’t it? It’s 34 feet long and has two slide outs. We are still debating if we are going to name it “Bear” or “Beast”. It’s actually quite nice. We got home right as it was getting dark, so trying to get it backed in the driveway was difficult. We live in a neighborhood with narrow roads and lots of hills. What you don’t see in this picture is the brick retaining wall on the right side which lost a couple bricks on the end during this process. Thank goodness one of the neighbors came out with a flashlight to help. With the two of us guiding the way, we got it in after about 15 minutes. I’m glad we will not have to get it in this driveway anymore. Over the next couple weeks, I will be loading up this RV and getting ready for a new adventure. Until then, I have to go do some packing! 🙂

 

Leave a comment »