Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Slipping into a Routine

Well, we are slipping into a routine here at the RV, though it is not ideal. 

Since it is just a transition for us, noone is really treating it like home and it is even awkward saying it is home.  Such as, "Let's head back home." is "Let's go back to the RV."

We are making it work though and this time will give us what we need financially, but we all agree we will be glad when it is over. 

So, the weekends are still up in the air because we have to look at home things so often.  The kids don't like to go, but we make them to get them out of the RV.  I also make them get out daily and take a walk at least. They don't feel extremely comfortable as many people sit out on their little patio areas and Laney feel like they are staring at her.  She liked the trail we had by our last house.

My back is not doing so great.  I really do not have a place to do my stretches like I should, so I am paying for it.  Hopefully the chiropractor can help keep me at bay while we go through this time.  Yesterday evening, my leg went numb.  Not good.  I do not want to start falling again and have to go back in a wheel chair.  So, I am implementing a walking time for me (several times a day) and the tens unit on bad nights.

We have gotten the cooking thing down though.  We had steak, baked potatoes, stuffed portobella mushrooms and asparagus for dinner.  I made the baked potatoes in the crock pot and Darrell grilled the rest of it.  Tonight, we are having stuffed, bacon wrapped chicken with steamed broccoli and tomato/cucumber salad.  I will stuff and wrap the chicken that Darrell will grill, and we cook the broccoli on the stove top.  The salad I will make this afternoon so the dill can come out fully.

It is cumbersome when preparing, but the cooking part we have gotten down.

Sleeping is also good - I am sleeping better and more now than I have years. I mean a luxurious 8-10 hours a day.  My body feels like it is starting to repair itself from all the stress.  My back needs work, but everything else is getting better - including starting to lose weight!

 During the week, we get up when we get up.  I have coffee while the kids get their breakfast.  After a cup, we either start school in the RV or go to the Rec Room.  Come back for lunch.  I go check on things at the land and get the mail.  Then, when I get back, we work on history and literature.  After that, I clean up a little bit and read.  Then Darrell comes home, we cook, eat dinner, watch a movie, go to bed.

That is about it.  Very slow life, but at least we have a routine.  Yes, every other week we go to the Library and I am trying to find things we can do that do not revolve around food, but house happenings have kept us close so far.  This is definitely a hands on project.  We did go to the movies a week ago and have plans for the contemporary art museum.  We may go on a rainy day since I know no work will happen!  ;)

Glad to finally be at this point, even if we feel we are still in limbo. 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Good Weekend

It was a laid back weekend - there were things to take care of, but we did them at a slow pace.

For starters, Laney had a wand making class Saturday morning.  She spent 2+ hours making this wand with a bunch of very hard core Harry Potter Fans.  I mean they go to immersion weekends and all!  She was one of the youngest there and one mom with her two kids left.  Sad really, these were very accepting, albeit slightly odd people and they all made my mildly into Harry Potter child feel welcome.

Then we went to purchase the appliances for the new house - lots of sales this weekend.  So, we ended up buying a Refrigerator - french doors with 30 cubic feet!, Deep Freezer, a double oven Range (17,000 BTU),  Microwave, Washer, Dryer, and Dishwasher.  The fridge, microwave, dishwasher and range are the black stainless steel.  GORGEOUS!  We got white for the rest.  Delivery which is far from the store, installation and all the tubes, wires, cords, etc - $7,200.  We saved $5,500 from full prices!  I thought we did pretty good getting exactly what we wanted with some bells and whistles. 

Then we drove around just getting more familiar with our area and came across a granite store.  We are not ready to buy, but they had a slab of leathered black granite - just like I want.  It was even more stunning than I imagined and found out it is a level 3 which is what we have been budgeted for - even better news!

Sunday we just cleaned up a bit, made a menu - went grocery shopping, did laundry, and the guys got their hair cut.  My son had a uni-brow and allowed them to do hot wax!  This is my sensitive skin and skiddish boy.  I was stunned!  He is growing up - I am so proud of him!

Today, we had lunch with some dear friends and showed them our land.  Then Darrell and I went to Lowe's for a tree limb trimmer - one of the really long ones since we have to trim trees before the shed can be built.

I could not play with my camera too much - we were busy and it rained most of the time.  However, I was able to play for a few minutes Sunday before the storm came in.

This is the view from the door of our RV using my new wide angle lens.  I still need to work with it a LOT!

Hope you all had a great long weekend!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Week 17 Update

Not too much has happened, some good news which I already told y'all about.  We have finally kind of settled in, so life is just cruising on.

1. Land Home - Well, we finally got HOA Approval this week.  We also started the process of the shed.  The contractors finishing cutting down all the trees and are burning the remnants.  That will take a while - it has been mostly raining this week and they are having trouble with the fires.  They have to get very hot and they are not getting there.  I did not go up there yesterday, but I will today, so I will see their progress.

Yesterday, I sat down with the builder and made decisions on window placements and sizes.  I did add 2 smaller windows  - 1 to my daughter's bathroom and 1 to our water closet.  Our ceilings are 10' high, so the windows are thin and high - 1 ft tall by 2-3 wide at the 8 ft mark.  I am a little excited because there will be seven 8ft tall windows with no obstruction in the living room area. 

I also finalized the color of the windows and the roof shingles.  We got word from the county that the culvert needs to be wider, so we will be adding a few feet to it sometime soon.  It is a new standard size - lucky us!

I did ask when the concrete pad would be done.  Here is the excitement - as long as weather holds, the select fill pad should be done by the end of next week.  (which also means we can start the shed!)  Then, our builder said he would need a couple of weeks to prep for the concrete pad, but he saw no reason for the concrete pad not be poured by the June 16th, 19th at the latest!  It will start really moving then!

Oh, I got my wide angle lens yesterday!  I cannot wait to take a picture - I will be able to get the whole open area now! 

2. RV Living - We are doing ok.  I still say if Darrell and I were retired and traveling, this would be more doable, even fun.  Living here with teenagers, not so great.  They are lovely and such wonderful kids.  There are no major complaints, only when we are all lamenting together.  We all agree, it is not bad until you are trying to cook or shower.  That's when it is a pain. 

However, we are making it work.  I have no intention of changing our situation and it is actually going better than I thought. 

Darrell and I are getting closer, so that is one good thing.  The kids are getting closer as well.  They went through a period of verbal fighting, but we had to talk with them and they are actually talking to each so much nicer.  "Koen, I know it is hard, but could you please chew with your mouth closed - it is driving me insane."  LOL - our daughter is a trooper living with 3 brothers.  The fact they are saying please to each other is a very good thing!

3. Homeschooling - Going great!  Another week in the books.  We are progressing along nicely and we went to the rec room every day this week.  They love it!  It gets us out of the RV and they have separate tables. 

We started reading the Constitution.  It is a little dry, but I am bringing in stories as we go, so it is taking a long time to get through - that is ok.  I would rather they remember it then press through and they not remember anything.

We did make a final decision to NOT start Latin or Science until we move in the house.  Latin is important as this will count as their foreign language for graduation, so it needs to be taken seriously.  Science has a ton of experiments that are just not conducive in this RV.  Plus, as we get further along in the building, I will need to be at the land more.

I am good with this.  I felt guilty for a few days, but it is not like they are Not going to get it at all.  We will be moving in the house this year.  It is just one semester.  (see how I am talking myself into this?)

So, there you have it - a little slow, but good.  I hope over the next month, there will be a LOT more pictures to show you - at this point, they are just moving piles around and it is not exciting.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Meal Planning - year?

Have any of you heard about the meal planning for a year?

I have to admit, the idea is VERY intriguing for me.  There obviously is a TON of prep to this, but I have quite a bit of time on my hands, so I thought it might be worth giving a try.

Especially since we will be living in a place (very soon) that is a minimum of 20 minutes from any kind of grocery store or restaurant, eating in is VERY important and getting the right groceries is even more paramount.  There is no running to the store really quickly for butter, eggs or that kind of thing.  Unless Dollar General sells it - which they actually might, BUT I bet it will not be the natural butter we like or the farm eggs we get at the farmer's market.  Just saying.

The premise here is to divide foods into categories.  Such as with dinners,  Mexican, Pizzas, Pork Dishes, Beef Dishes, Asian Cuisine, Italian, 'Merican, Breakfast night, Chicken, Soups, etc - ideally 7 to 14 different categories with a minimum of 14 meals in each category.

Then, you would just repeat those meals - with adjustments to the seasons based on availability of some foods - like pablano peppers in the summer!  YUM!

You would do the same for breakfasts (if that is a meal you need to plan -like me) and lunches.

Then, just plug it into a calendar or spreadsheet and there you go!

Some tips I have seen that make sense:

  • Keep the meals to things your family likes, then every now and then experiment with something new when there is time.
  • If you know there will be a season that is rough (like soccer season), then plan easy meals
  • When the family gets sick and you get way off your menu - don't worry about it, just jump back in when everybody is healthy again.
  • Add in some out to eat nights - then those will really be treats!

This a very fluid way of planning for a year - if you do not like repeating meals a lot, then you don't have to come up with so many.  Me, I like a LOT of variety, so I will be brainstorming for dinner ideas, but for breakfasts and lunches - wash, rinse, repeat.  I don't like to spend any time on them.

I am quite excited about this - it makes so much sense to me.  We plan meals anyway, why not just go ahead and take all the planning out in one full swoop!

 Do any of you plan for a year of meals already?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Slow Day and a funny

I woke up early because the bathroom called, I decided to turn on the water heater and get a shower, but slipped into back into bed and waited for the water to heat up.  Took a shower, got the kids up, had 2 cups of coffee, then we shuffled our way to the rec room.

Today I was all caught up in grading, so I just sat back and my girlie novel.  Easy to read, perfect for taking breaks while helping kids with their work and grading as we went.

Then an older guy comes in - flips on the light (which we do not like because there is plenty of natural light).  He gets his mail, and then leaves without turning it off.  Sigh.  I get up and turn it off.

About 30 minutes later, he comes back and just sits down on the couch across from me - looking at his phone.  Not reading or doing a puzzle, just looking at his phone. 

All the while, I am answering questions, talking to the kids, etc.  We are not loud, but this guy is just sitting there, now NOT on his phone, but looking around, looking at us.  It is weird.  It felt weird.

So, Delaney goes back to the RV because she is done and now this guy is snoring.  Snoring loudly!

Koen and I try to finish up as quickly as we can since was he close to being done. 

Now, I know this is a community rec room and he is not the first to come in there, but most of the other read or work on a puzzle.  Obviously amusing themselves.  This guy kept watching us and looking around.

Maybe he was trying to make us feel uncomfortable - I am not sure. Maybe he just wanted to get out of his RV.  If it happens again though, we will leave immediately. 

The rest of afternoon consisted of me eating lunch at our property, listening to the birds chirp.  The kids taking a walk and me reading the afternoon away - after cleaning the bathroom.

Such a decadent life right now!

Oh, I have to leave you with a funny - this is a picture a friend sent me of a local grocery store.   I think I need to go buy me some Ass. Cream Cakes!  LMAO!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lots of Great News Today!

Well, for starters, this is my oldest son's and my youngest son's birthday today!  They are 21 and 13 respectfully.  We are not big on celebrating the day of if it is during the week, so we did it this past weekend.  Just 13 year old got a special breakfast today.

So, we got up and got started with homeschool - that went pretty smoothly, then I told the kids we were going to find a place to walk.  Since it was so beautiful out today, a mild 80 F and low humidity, we decided to walk around where our house is being built and check the mail. 

The contractors were on a lunch break, so I took a moment to talk to them.  They have finished cutting down all the trees that will be cut and are now just burning the excess - it will take a couple of days because of the rain we are getting, but we are definitely moving ahead.

This is going to be the last straight on photo.  That is the second great news - I am getting a wide angle lens!  I will be able to show you the entire area soon - then I will take pictures almost daily! 

Although this looks like a large area has been cut back, there really will not be much space - maybe 12 ft around the perimeter.  We cut as little as possible down as we want to live in the forest!  LOL

So, while we were on our walk around the neighborhood, I received a couple of emails - one of which was APPROVAL FROM OUR HOA!  WOO-HOO!  Now, we can really move forward.  3rd piece of great news.

Then I spent some time on the deck at the RV reading, when another email came in - the engineering drawings for the shed!  YEAH!!!  Now the select fill pads can really be built and soon too!

I am over the top thrilled.

It definitely made living in the RV a better thing - seemed worth it, etc. 

Oh, yeah, I am meeting with the builder either tomorrow or Thursday to make final decisions on the sizes of the windows.   I think I may be even picking the shingle color.  It is going to start coming together finally!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Missing - I am missing lots

I am tired this evening.  We ended up going to my sister's - who lives about 5 hours away for a quick weekend trip.  It was fun and I enjoyed seeing her and my cute nephew!  They had just bought a house and she was dying to show it to me.  It is beautiful for them.  Not something I would buy, but perfect for their little family right now.  They bought it outright with money that was left to them from her husband's father's death. 

So, while we were there, we started talking about food - of course.  And we got on the subject of summer food.  You know-
  • a pot of pinto beans and corn bread
  • gazpacho
  • strawberry spinach salad
  • fresh sweet corn and tomatoes with lots of fresh butter on freshly baked bread
  • Brushetta
  • zucchini bread
  • homemade pizza crust with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and garden basil
  • lemon icebox pie
  • homemade peach ice cream with mint
  • sangria
  • homemade biscuits
  • three bean salad
  • pasta salad
  • fruit pizza
  • on and on and on!
I LOVE summer foods - the lightly sweet, fresh, melt in your mouth garden freshness.  Yes, I can get those actually basic foods, but no where to store them.

For example, in the Gazpacho I make (no egg), I need a large bowl for mixing all the fabulous summer vegetables, then store it in the fridge for at least one day before eating so all the tabasco and garlic has time to permeate and break down the vegetables to the soft and crunchy texture that makes a gazpacho so wonderful. 

I have no space for the bowl nor space in the fridge.

Or take zucchini bread - mixing the flour, and warm just-picked-from-the-garden zucchini, while mixing in shaved baking chocolate and baking in a bundt pan and sprinkling powdered sugar while still slightly warm so it mimics an easy glaze.

Yeah, no bowl, no oven, no bundt pans.

Whiny baby - I know.  I can probably cut down on the pasta salad size and make it work - no on the homemade pizza though.

Extremely limited oven space, so most baking is out of the picture.  You really do not really how much you would miss your own cooking until you live in an RV with a family.

Countertop space is non-existent, so that causes the first problem.  Cutting one item is OK, but when you are cutting onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers and you have to keep them all separate before they come together because they have to cook at different times, you realize, how much you took your coutertop space for granted.

I do not LOVE to cook.  In fact, I actually hate it.  Until I have to eat.  I like my cooking almost more than anyone else's.  There are a few restaurants that really I cannot replicate to my liking.  Most food is either 1) cooked with too much sweetener or 2) cooked with no flavor

I have come to realize that most healthy food is made very bland, but when you add garlic, onion, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, thyme, bay leaves, fresh peppers, cinnamon, basil etc - it makes the dishes come alive!

There is a place for the freshest vegetables and a very well grilled steak sans spices.  But a girl cannot eat steak and tomatoes everyday.  She needs a lemon treat after a Spanish meal.

I cannot wait for our home to be built.  OK, sulking over - here is a pix of our "starter" driveway!  It will not be concreted over until all the heavy trucks are done with their work, so basically - at the end.

I am over the moon excited about this!  Our builder laughed at me.  None of his other customers have ever even cared about this part.  Crazy!  This is what will become our driveway!  That is exciting!  He also told us that this is the long part of the process - it draws on and on.  So 2 weeks until we prepping pads!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Week 16 Update

It seems so strange to put that we are Week 16 of this adventure.  It feels so much longer and so much shorter of time to us.  Longer in that we are waiting and waiting for the building to start, but so short in that we only made this decision mid-January!

The dream was long time coming, but it really was just one easy morning of us talking and BOOM!  The process started.

This week was much slower and easy.  The HOA thing is nothing compared to what HAS been going on with the lenders, the sale of the house, etc.

1. Land Home - lots of changes this week!  We are in full swing.  The brick has been ordered, because it takes 10-12 weeks.  I am sure a few more things have been ordered, but it is not things that I have to choose.  This is all infrastructure that was decided on very early - such as lumber, nails, insulation, etc.

The lot clearing is in full swing.  They started on Wednesday and will be working at least through today - possibly Monday.  LOTS of trees to cut down - a bajillion pines.  It looks weird now - not park like when the brush was cut down.  There is full sun in the middle where the house and shed will go - which makes me a little sad, but I know we actually have to build a house - LOL.  They also put in the culvert and are burning what they cut down - makes me nervous, but people do it all the time.

The culvert actually was the best part for me - it is the beginning of our driveway.  Hopefully they brought the crushed granite today, so I can get a good picture.

As for the HOA thing - The Management Company got back with me this morning.  Bless them - my email was rough.  She said she already sent the HOA our completed application.  BUT, she would send it again, mark our account to NOT VOTED (it was on hold).  She said they should be fairly quick.  I hope so.  So, now, I will pay a visit to my fellow HOA board neighbor today.

2. RV Living - This was really the first week that we could settle in and actually get into a routine.  It is not our home really, but we are getting comfortable.   The kids and I used the rec room for homeschool and it works beautifully.  It is getting too hot to really sit outside anymore - 95 F  and lots of humidity.

Last night, Darrell and I took a walk after sunset and were looking at some of the others little patio areas.  We talked a bit about what we wanted to do - a pot for cherry tomatoes, maybe lights - but we ultimately decided that it would start making this place feel permanent and that is not what it is.  We do not want this to feel permanent.  Yes, we need to feel comfortable and it is our temporary home, but just that - temporary.  I don't want to spend money for this place.  Now, if it is something that we will like there, that is fine, but I am even holding on off on that until we are there.  What I want now, may not work there - because after all - it is still a drawing - a very detailed drawing, but our home is still just a drawing.

3. Homeschool - WOO-HOO!  We did a full week of homeschool!  With tests and everything.   It was great.  Today, we will start reading the Constitution - I know they are rolling their eyes, but it is such a major document and perfect for what is going on today.  I may have them relate it to a current political article when we are done to make it real for them.

4. Business - I said no more business updates, but this is truly the final one - only 3 categories after this. I finished on Friday.  All done - no mas.  Delivered on Saturday.  Received final payments.  Made the deposits yesterday.  All equipment is packed and in storage.  We moved out of the working storage shed, so I have not been there AT ALL this week - heaven!  Pure heaven. 

We will have to see where I will be once we get settled in the new house.  Right now, no more business.  I don't want to stat it back up, but I am still in the throws of building a house and homeschooling which both require quite a bit of time.  Who knows what will happen!  I am leaving it open.

Well, that is it - I will post pictures probably tomorrow.  This evening we are celebrating our May birthdays.  Darrell's was this week and my oldest and youngest are next week (on the same day!)  So, we are just taking everyone out to dinner.  Unfortunately, my college boy cannot make it in - I am bummed - I have not seen him since February.  He is going on a month-long mission trip in the Appalachian Mountains starting on Saturday!  They will not have phones or computers, so no contact except June 3rd.  We had to set up a phone time.  Then we will not hear from him until sometime in July.  UGH!  But I knew he would be like this - his whole life I knew.

As for us, we are just hanging out this weekend.  We may go check out appliances (Memorial Day Sales), get birthday boy some pants - he just grew out of everything this past month.

What are you up to this weekend?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Oh, how I love thee - HOA

For those that are not in the know - HOA is short for Home Owner's Association.

They are a love/hate of everyone around these parts.  They ensure that people do not move into your neighborhood with trashy mobile homes (many are nice - I am not talking about those) and that someone cannot decide to build a mechanic's shop next door to you.  They also make sure the general neighborhood is kept nice - usually there is a community room that you can use personally and also that the community grounds are kept nice.  In addition, that noone can come in with really crazy decor and making an eye-sore in the neighborhood and driving home values down.  There is a place for them!

Where they cause problems is waiting for approval on builds, renovations, or like when they


I about came unglued when I heard that they have been by our property, not once, not twice, but three times today asking to see permits (which they have no right to do) and who did they (the contractors) think they were.

Oh, there are not many things that set me off, but the gauntlet was thrown down today and I am MORE than up for the challenge.

So, here is the deal.  When we filled out the application, it states on there to allow 30 days to get approval.  Well, they wanted more information on our shed - which they took 30 days to get me the notice.

As soon as I received the notice, I sent them back more information than they would ever need.   They did not request anything on the house.  No word back that they had received the information or anything.

Yesterday, I was out at the property and a HOA member stopped by and asked if I had gotten the shed information in - uh, yeah - 2 freaking weeks ago!

So, today, is when a couple of different HOA members came around and started harassing the contractors that put in the culvert and starting to burn the trees we had to cut down.  Telling the contractor that he will be watched and crap.  I am done.

I know we do not have approval and are starting work, but NOT building anything.  We can put in a culvert without their approval - just county approval, which we received over a month ago.  We can clear land with no intent as well.  So, we are not breaking rules yet.

My plan, suffocation.  It is very effective in a slow moving situation.  I will email and call daily - being nice - never rude.  If that is not effective, then we will go to a higher level.  I need to get this taken care of - our builder is talking 4 months!

Oh, also, some health issues have popped up with me and I need to be in a house where I can attend to it.  It is difficult in an RV.  I am not going to indulge just yet, we will see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Excavation Day!

Well, they pulled out the big guns and are starting to excavate today! 

They are also adding in the temporary culvert - so this really gets the process going!

I walked through with the builder and the excavator this morning to shore up the plans for removal of trees and line of underbrush, where the driveway is going, etc.

This is such an exciting part.  Before the underbrush was clear, but now we really get to see how it will look!  Without the trees blocking views and such.

I will take more pictures when they are done.  The machines were too big and very scary to walk around.  They also will be burning the cut trees and brush which is actually really cool because they promised to move the ashes to where we will have our garden. 

With that, Darrell plans on building a pond in a low area that pools water anyway, so the dirt that he pulls up is going to be mixed with the ashes and it will have a year or more to sit and become really rich before we start our garden.  I am not sure next year will be the time, but for sure the next.

More moving forward!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Slow Day

I have been so stressed for so long, that my body is starting to let down.  I am in a lot of pain from muscles that were tense for at least a year and a half and are beginning their relaxation and fighting from the stiffness.

My brain is in a fog from thinking so hard and working so hard for such a long time.  It just wants to exist for a while and not be in so much use. 

I let us sleep in today and naturally woke around 9 am.  It seems to be my body clock - to bed around midnight, up from about 3:30 to 6 am, then start getting drowsy again and sleep well until 9 am.  If I manage to sleep through that middle of the night episode, then I wake around 7, but that very rarely happens.  Even with eating right and good exercise, I tend to have this pattern.  If I wake my self early for appointments too many days in a row, then I get irritable, eat poorly and lash out.

We did homeschool today, but on a lite level.  In the rec room where we work, they have quite a nice library and instead of just sitting there on my phone while they worked, I found a book and starting reading it - Silver Witch.  It is a fairly easy read - fantasy really.  So far, it is pretty good and is keeping my interest without too much effort.

Darrell and I decided - in that middle of the night time - that we would take a walk after dinner and try to start making that a habit.

I am starting to fall in love with the slower pace and the mundane habits of walks after dinner and coffee on the patio.

What mundane thing do you love that to other would see as yawning time?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Back in the Swing!

Yes, my work is all done!  All quilts are done and delivered - thank you!  I only have to make a deposit and I will literally be completely finished, but that is not a stress at all, as we make bi-weekly bank runs anyway.

So, homeschool started in earnest today!  We packed up and went to the rec room - which was fabulous!  It will work beautifully!  There are two open tables, completely across the room from each other and I just bounced between them.

We did math, word study, writing, and some history/literature.  We are starting slow - grammar gets added tomorrow and poetry on Friday.  I will probably wait a couple more weeks before started Latin, and science may start next week.

History is always a discussion, so that was great!

We talked about tolerance and limits - discussing how Americans felt about tolerance in general and the perception with some groups now.  We delved into tolerance with parents, siblings, the environment and the concept of absolute tolerance and unlimited tolerance.  (We are studying American History, specifically during the time of Puritans just before the witch trials.)

It was so amazing to see their little minds working and working.

It feel incredible to be back at homechooling again.  So thankful we are able to do this!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Week 15 Update

So many things, yet not so many things.  I felt extremely busy, but there is not a whole lot to post about.

1. Land Home

We are closing on the construction loan today!   WOO-HOO! Unfortunately, there are some minor changes to be made to the documents that may hold us up - I hate reading this stuff.  I always find mistakes.

On Wednesday, I met the builder at the land and we staked out where the shed and house will go we well as which trees stay.  Excavation happens on Tuesday this next week.  We spoke about some issues - flooring, and choices in general.  I saw a couple of samples and changed my mind on one of them.  It was obvious that the color I saw on my computer was not the actual color, so it wasn't like I could not make up my mind.  I decided then that I needed samples or at least a place I can go look at something.

What did come up yesterday was the expense of flooring.  I about fell out.  We are going to go look at different flooring this weekend.  The reason this is important right now is that the Saltillo tiles are very thick - the transition between then tiles and wood would be offset.  Even with a thicker wood - none are as thick as the saltillos.  So, the foundation has to be poured to accommodate this difference in height.  The foundation is being poured in 2 weeks, so I have to get this settled.

2. RV Living

Well, we are doing good this week.  It is not too bad.  We still have not gotten into our routine because, well, I am still working.  It is small and I miss the ease of a house really badly.   I told Darrell that if we were retired, traveling and it was just us - it would be great!  However, living a working life with teens and not traveling - it is not the best.

Will I stick it out - oh yeah!  The money we are saving outweighs ANY issue I have with living in this RV. 

3.  Homeschool

Putter, Putter - stall.  Sigh - we need to get back going, but I need to finish working first.  Since the job keeps me away, I cannot be here to teach.

4. My Business

OK.  ON THE LAST QUILT!!!  I just have to quilt and bind it.  That is it and I will be done.  I want to finish today, but between waiting to hear about this correction and the closing, I am not sure if I will.  Then we have to look for flooring tomorrow since that is urgent on the build, then we have a party to go with people up in this area, so I really want to go.  I can finish on Sunday though.  No later though - this is the last week I will update on the business!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Builder and a little fun

This morning, I got to sleep in.

The builder wanted to meet at the property to set stakes where the corner of the buildings will be and talk about trees. 

So, I let myself get a full night's sleep, easy morning - taking care of a few paperwork things, then meet the builder, go work on the quilt, leave and deliver another quilt, then have a drink with a few customers in the old neighborhood.  I need some down time - even if it is a drink with customers.

Well, the builder called and wanted to meet earlier.  Fine with me, but we were there for 3 1/2 hours!  There goes my time to work.  I sweated head to toe, plus all the bug spray.  No working for me - I have to leave in about 20 minutes to deliver the quilt.

The final numbers came for the closing - I have to set up the wiring of the funds.  Still closing on Friday!

Our builder said he wanted to have the foundation down in 2-3 weeks at the most!  We will be walking on our house very soon!  YEAH!!!

It really is an exciting part - the foundation.  Once it is poured, the house feels so small - like it is a doll house or something, but when the walls go in, it starts to look and feel infinitely better. 

I have found that others renew my sense of excitement for this build.  You get so caught up in the detail that you forget to step back.  Well, when I talk to people about it, they get excited either for me or the concept of them building a house one day. 

Today, I am dreaming again.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

and the Heavens opened up!

We have a closing date!  FINALLY! 

We received the closing disclosure and worked out a closing date.  Since we moved the date up to this week, we need the new disclosures, but I will give them until tomorrow.  No real rush until Friday morning when I need to get the funds from the bank.

So this should be a banner week - we are finally closing on the loan AND I will be finishing the quilts. WOO-HOO!

So, let me break down why this lender process was so painful.  We actually did not have to jump through that many hoops, much less than the last underwriting we did.  We had to give paperwork for 2 deposits, easy enough - took me 15 minutes.  Other than that, it was just a lot of signing.

The main problem was a lack of communication from them.  I never knew what step we were on, they would send a paper saying we needed to pay $700, but not what it for.  Of course, this came at 4:55 p.m., so I had to wait until the next day to get an answer.  They were late with the appraiser, I had to remind them.  Nothing that came to us from them was right the first time.  I had to scrutinize over all the legal paperwork and have them correct it.  Sometimes that took 3-4 days.  I sent them the executed closing papers from the sale of our old home (twice actually), yet they sat on it a week, when I finally got out of them what they were waiting on.  Noone has really been nice either - cordial at best.

I wish I could say I was done with them, but we have the draws to make during the build, so we are not.  I do think the worse part is over with them though.

As for work, I am delivering another quilt today.  I am literally almost done with another - just making sure the binding is correct - I sewed it on at 11 p.m. last night.  Then, only 1 left!  I cannot wait until I am done with this.

Again, I love what I do, just not under the circumstances right now and not with all the pressure I am under right now with these tight deadlines.

 I am just glad that 2 major things are coming to a close this week - 2 MAJOR THINGS!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rough Weekend and Week Ahead of me

There is just no good news lately.  Problem after problem - 1 step forward, 2 steps back kind of time.

On Friday, someone from our lender emailed me at 4:45 p.m.  15 minutes before closing.  She sent paperwork to fill out for setting up a bank account for the draw money to go in and out of.  Now, first thing is the address and phone number were wrong.  Second, we don't like to have checking accounting in just one person's name. Thirdly, she said this was pursuant to the phone call from someone we have never heard of.


So, I emailed her back - telling her these issues.  She wrote back thanking me for the updated information, that I could not be on the account (which I understand), and she is sorry, she thought we were further along in the process - the new guy is who we will now be talking to. 

Sort of frustrated me more because the original people we were dealing with said nothing to us about this.

Anyway, I email her back - saying send the new forms with the updated address, having just Darrell on it is fine. 

I got a automatic reply saying she is out the office, works part-time and won't be in until Tuesday because her days on are Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  Sigh, so the earliest she will send the paperwork is Tuesday.  They all have a habit of sending them at the end of the day, so by the time we answer back, they are gone.  Everything takes a minimum of 2 days.

No idea when we are going to close at this rate. Our builder says we are fine is close by the end of next week, but I am not sure if we will!  In just 10 days we will be in default on our contract because the lender has taken so much time!

I am going out of my mind!


On Saturday, we check mail.  There is a notice from the HOA that we were are not approved for build.  They need more information on the shop/shed and if they don't hear back soon, then they will void the application.  It took them over 30 days to get that to us. 

Both of us were upset with the builder because he has built in this neighborhood and knows what they need.  This could have been avoided by getting the right information upfront to them.  I know he is not building the shed, but I could have gotten the info together for him.  The builder told me not to worry about it, now we are looking at another 30 days before approval. 

So, I put together a package that consisted of
  • a copy of their letter
  • a written letter from me apologizing, stating the type of shed we were building, the size, the function, the materials and a very rough drawing of the front.
  • The Steel Building brochure
  • The Steel Building color choices with ours highlighted.
  • A page of shop/sheds in our neighborhood with the same construction.
 Darrell made me write the builder.  He does not usually answer me on the weekends, but I broke down Sunday evening.  He did write back, asking for a copy of the letter.  I sent him the package.  He forwarded it to someone at the management company the HOA uses. 

The builder knows I am upset.  This is looking less and less like we will be in before Christmas because of all these delays.

I am not sure what will happen if we do not close on time.  What is he going to do?  It is completely out of our hands. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Week 14 Update

This week was full of ups, downs and crisscrosses.  We definitely made a leap forward in regards to the house and well, we are all still laughing and loving, so we made it another week.  Darrell actually the afternoon off yesterday.  I put off all the errands and we spent some time together.  Yes, we worked on house stuff, but we needed to get some decisions made.  It was lovely, he was a little more tender with me and I let him be because I needed it.

1. Land Home 

Last night right at 5 o'clock, we got the word that we are CLEARED from the underwriters to close!  That means we will probably be closing on the construction to permanent loan next week (I hope so anyway).  I will be so glad when this happens.

The land also got cleared this week - Darrell was macho guy yesterday and we took the 4 wheel truck through it.  WOW! Bumpy to say the least - I won't be doing that again.  I think those days of that being fun are over for me.  There are a few hardwoods that we would love to save, but one in particular may be a problem.  Oh, we found out that this piece of property and probably the whole area was a deer range.  There was a falling down deer stand and a lean-to fort type structure.  Very old and falling down as well. The history of land is so interesting to me. 

Yesterday, we ditched the have tos and went searches for flooring and shower tile.  I was having a lot of trouble on two issues:

  1. Finding an engineered wood that was thicker to be closer to the height of the saltillo tiles we are installing and still be a color we like.
  2. Finding shower grade tiles that would look good next to the saltillo tiles.  

Those saltillos tiles are so freaking gorgeous, but cannot be used a shower and are thick so the transitions between flooring is tough.  By actually finding a 1/2" engineered wood we like yesterday, there will not have to be as much thin set used to raise the level to the saltillo!  SCORE! 

Because of the natural clay of the saltillo tiles, porcelain tiles look downright fake next to them - they almost look plastic.  I knew I would have to get something natural looking to work, but what?  On-line, most designers are going full spanish with the saltillo tiles by using talavera tiles in the shower, however, I do not want the full spanish look - just hints of it.  So, we looked and looked and we walked by the slate.  When I think of slate, I think of very medium to dark gray, so it never crossed my mind to use it.  But, they had a more neutral tan/gray and with dark places and oranges slate tile.  It was stunning and looked gorgeous with the saltillos and the wood we are getting.  It is perfect!  We cannot put it on the floor though, so we found this flatten river rock set that we can put on our shower floor.  It is truly stunning and the perfect compliment to the authentic mexican clay tiles that I have been holding for 5 years waiting to put them in my home.

Oh, I also decided on a copper farmhouse sink with apron for my kitchen.  A splurge, but it will look absolutely stunning and so far, I have selected everything within range of allowance, plus, I am paying this out of pocket. Darrell and I did decided that some things like this, we will just pay out of pocket ourselves.  So, far, we did this for the front door and now the sink.  The only other thing I can think that we will go over is the kitchen cabinets.  Everything else, I am pretty ok with.  Even though the slate tiles may seem like that will be over the amount allotted - it is not. 

2. RV Living

As you know, we had a moment this week.  The walls were closing in on me, so to speak.  It will happen.  I will have bad days - people will get to me.  It just made it clear to me that I really do Need a brick and mortar home in this world.  This RV is fine because I know it is temporary and for a good reason - so I can get a copper sink and door that we love - and save a crap ton of money in the process (ie pay off debt).

The tree that almost hit us did send us reeling.  It happen on my "bad day", so maybe that is why Darrell was so tender yesterday with me.  You can either make something good come of something that is bad or spend your life a victim.  We chose to draw closer.  So, that tree was the best thing that could have happened at the time.

We are planning to go see our favorite local cover band this weekend - they are a Beatles cover band, but cover some of the other British invasion music of that time.  They are playing at a local festival and we carving out time to go have some fun.  Even when we get in the house, we need to do this.  It is something we have forgotten these past few years.

3. Homeschool

Well, we partially started this week!  I had to work, work, work, so it is still not great, but they started and that is a good things.  At this point, they have just done their work in the RV because I have been at the storage shed working.

Which leads me to

4.  My Business

Sigh.  I finished 2 completely and delivered them.  I plan on finishing another today if I really push, and another one by Monday.  That leaves ONE left.  It is big too - 40 shirts, a colorblock border.  Good grief.   I did finish cutting apart all the shirts last night, so they are prepped and ready to iron.

It feels like closing this business will never end, but it will.  By the end of next week it will be done.

It is nice to feel like we are moving forward this week.  Very, very nice!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Trees? I LOVE Trees

I have been getting a lot of flack from "Friends" about moving to what is ultimately a forest. 

The trees will fall on your house.  Aren't you scared of that?

Me?  Scared of falling trees?  Nah. 

3 main reasons trees fall:

1.  They are improperly taken care of and their root system cannot become very stable due to over watering.

2.  They are diseased and/or rotting.

3. Intense acts of nature.

My response is that I know how to care for trees (life long tree hugger), I will cut down any diseased trees before damage can occur.  And for acts of nature, well, that is why I have insurance.

So, me and my big self telling this to all these people.  Look what happened last night to us.

It shook us pretty good and made quite the noise, but very little damage and everyone is fine.  That little window there is where Koen sleeps and was there when this happened around 11 pm.  I am not sure about the storage shed - I think it is fine, but we cannot get to it just yet. 

By the way, did I tell y'all I scored that storage shed for free!  Yep, it has worked out perfectly.  Darrell did not think we needed it, but it is full to the brim!

Needless to say, I did not sleep well.  The adrenaline took a while to wear off!  However, upon inspection this morning, this tree is rotting from the inside, so my shpeal stands true!  Unfortunately, I have no control of when trees get cut down.  This one and several others in this park would go if it was up to me. 

Well, off to ortho appointments, quilt deliveries and library run, but I need more coffee first!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ups and Downs of this process. Down

I am having a down day.  I am still struggling to get done with these quilts.  I am delivering 2 tomorrow though - 3 left. 

I hate the space I have to work.  It is not where I live, which is a pain in the ass.  I feel for anyone who does not work at home - it is such a luxury.  However, the place I go has zero lighting, so I am working from a lamp.  Fun - shadows everywhere.  There is very little air conditioning - just enough to cut the humidity, so I sweat the entire the time.  There are no windows and there is a loud echo - because I am in a storage room! 

It just plain sucks.

The walls are closing in on me today in this RV.  My marriage is not in a great place right now.  My husband called me weird last night.  He has never done that. He is feeling it too.

My kids are laying in bed all day, but I have to work so I cannot do anything about it.  1.5 more weeks tops of this.  Only 3 quilts and their little asses will be moving, as will mine.

The only adults I talk with on a daily basis are lenders and builders and they talk down to me mostly.  Well, it is how I perceive it probably, especially since I am a fish out of water when it comes to looking at thickly wooded property and deciding exactly where the house and shed should go.  Or why the lenders added the closing costs to the loan when we are paying them (weird accounting), but I feel so freaking stupid about it all.

It has been a long time since I have gone through a day where I make very important decisions, but made to feel bad about them - all day, with every decision. 

Oh, and there is no feedback - just - "if that's what you want".  Sigh.  A word of advise every now and then would be appreciated.

Just my needy personality, a long time under a lot of stress, lack of personal contact with others and being in limbo.  That is how building a house goes.  Tomorrow, I will be over the moon excited again. 

Boy, oh boy I cannot wait until life is a little more calm again and I can wrap my head around everything.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Land Clearing

We had our land cleared today!  This is the preliminary clear to decide where the house and shed will be built.  Unfortunately, these pictures do not show well because I had my 50mm lens and I really needed my zoom out lens.  I will get that this weekend when we go back to mark trees.

I started them off at around 8 am this morning.

Then he pushed over some smaller trees while trying to cut through the thick underbrush.

He finally broke through.  Wood was thrown out the back so I stayed very clear of it!

I got a little bored and took a picture of a wild flower that ended up getting cut today.

When I left this morning, I took one last picture of the most beautiful oak tree we are doing everything possible to keep.  It is right in the middle of the driveway.

The clearing guy kept working through the day, so as a family, we went to see the work (and check the mail) this evening.

This is our decent down what will be the driveway.

These pictures are an attempt to recreate a panorama picture.  Failed horrible, but you get the idea.

It is just beautiful.  Most of the trees in the center will be cut down in order to build the house and shed, but the perimeter trees are staying. You will more than likely not be able to see the house from the road.

This is just my husband and kids exploring.  It was evening, so the mosquitoes were horrible, giving even more credence to our putting in a 821 sq ft screened porch.

The lender sent us another wrong disclosure today.  Sigh.  We are so close to closing, but this is holding us back.  Our builder is great though - we are excavating next week and putting in the pre-concrete pads.  It is starting to happen much more quickly now!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Frustration with the Lender

This is why I keep saying over and over and over again, this is the last time we are doing something like this.  I am so sick of lenders, it is pathetic.

So, I have to email them every couple of days to actually keep them working on our loan.  It is insane.

We put in a contingency that was based on the sale of our home.  Well, that happened so fast - as you well know.  So, on the afternoon we closed, I asked the title office to send me an email version of the closing documents so I could send them to our new lender right away.  I did that - before we were even funded from the closing, I sent them the documents.

I did not get a response of receipt like normal, so on the following Monday morning (we closed Friday afternoon), I sent the document AGAIN - to all the people involved with this loan.  I was thanked and notified of receipt.  Excellent - check something else off the list.  Or so I thought.

Then I asked about the appraisal and I walked you through all that last week.  Which, by the way, when I wrote after it was late, they thanked me for reminding them.  Sigh.

When we got word about the appraisal, I asked if the builder still needed approval or if we were close to closing, what were the remaining steps, etc.  I was told that were waiting on a couple of things from the title company and we were close to closing.  That was last Thursday. 

Friday, we received the wrong final Disclosure.

Monday morning, I am waiting, waiting, waiting, to hear.  We are supposed to close this week, so I figured we would be wrapping things up quickly. 

Well, at 4 pm, when I had not heard anything, I sent an email.  I asked about the updated disclosure and if there was anything I could do to expedite the items needed from the title company.  I have a tendency to be able to get things done - people are quite amazed when they have not seen it happen before.  Though, I leave a wake, so my husband says people should be careful when they ask me to get involved - not sure if I consider this a gift or not. 

Anyway, she said she need to talk to the title company from our current home.  Um, we don't have a home!  We closed on the 21st and are renting a space for our RV which we live in. 

Oh, she was waiting for those documents and did not realize that I had sent them - over a week ago!  She has been waiting and the loan is on hold because of this!  UNFREAKING BELIEVABLE!  She is sorry, she has them - blah, blah, blah.

So, of course, I start getting emails from everyone updating me on the progress of things.  Yeah, you screwed up.  This should be an easy loan.  We are well-qualified, asking for less the max, paying 20% down - which puts us at 35-40% down on the value and have been upfront and quick in getting them the information they have asked for.

I bet we don't close before next week because we still have to go through the final underwriting.

I am so tired of pulling these people through the process. 

Good news though, we are clearing the land tomorrow! I plan on getting pictures.  This is a very progressive step - makes it feel real.

Awkwardness and Menus

We started the homeschooling again this morning.  One word.  Awkward!

It feels odd because we eat, entertain and work in the exact same place on this RV, so it feels odd.  I gave them a choice this morning of where to school.  I may not give them a choice again.  I think it would be better in the rec room where our beds are not 2 feet next us and the lure of electronics are not so compelling.

They are getting into it though.  I just found out that I either threw away or packed the 1st 5 lessons of history.  Sigh.  We will just read and answer questions the best we can.  Luckily, I kept the other 31 weeks of lessons, so not too bad.

This week's dinners were planned with a hectic week in mind since Darrell will be getting home a little later due to some deadlines and our week starting homeschool, but me still trying to finish work and the land beginning to clear, doctor appointments, etc.

Sunday, Chicken Pot Pie with salad (Toaster oven)
Monday - Potatoes, green beans and sausage (Crock Pot)
Tuesday -  Steak, Asparagus, salad, bread (Grill)
Wednesday - Cheesy jalapeno Chicken, rice and broccoli (Electric Skillet, rice cooker, microwave)
Thursday - Chili  (crock pot)
Friday - French Bread pizza (toaster oven)
Saturday - Roast, Tomato/Cucumber salad, roasted potatoes (crock pot, toaster oven)

We are moving on along!  What are you eating this week?