Phannie

Phannie
Photo taken at Winchester Bay, Oregon

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Calendars, Checklists, Organizers and Cooking Soup

At Sunset Shores RV Park, Willis, Texas...

When we're not traveling, I tend to write blog posts less often--usually around once a week--and then only after a subject coalesces in my mind that I think may be at least mildly interesting to readers. Today's subject was prompted after reading the fine blog of Patsy Irene's. She and her husband, Bill, are newly-retired Canadian fulltimers who are about to embark on their first trip to warmer country as snowbirds. Their excitement makes for a fun read. 

Patsy was explaining their means of organizing themselves using to-do lists and checklists, and that got me to thinking about our own means of organizing our lives. We too, have a to-do list and a checklist, along with a paper calendar. Since we are fairly computer and smart-phone literate for older geezers, we have successfully moved from a paper to-do list to a list on our iPhones. Since Sandy's and my phones are cloud-connected, the to-do list is shared, using the "Reminders" app that is on every iPhone screen. When either of us adds to or deletes from the to-do list, the change appears on both phones. It works fine for us, and it was a relief to get rid of the little pocket notebook I used to carry.

Going to an electronic calendar, however, proved to be fruitless. There were too many changes and too much keypunching to suit us. We finally gave up on trying that and printed our own looseleaf calendar that always resides in the pocket behind the driver's seat. We make entries in pencil mostly, due to the need for corrections as our plans change. There's just something about having the paper calendar in our hands that makes it easier to ponder and discuss our upcoming plans. This has become more important since we began fulltiming, as our plans need to be made farther ahead to ensure we have the appropriate reservations or appointments wherever we go.



As far as checklists go, I definitely use a departure checklist. The importance of using a checklist when piloting an airplane was not lost on me, obviously, because I am still alive after 15,000 hours of flying. Operating an RV, of course, is not nearly as critical as a jet airliner, but it is still a big, complex machine that can humble your pride and your pocketbook pretty quickly if you forget something important. My checklist is nothing exotic, just a printed list affixed to the wall just to the left of the driver's chair, and I refer to it without fail before each departure. So far--knock on wood--this has served me well.



As far as organizing things in the coach, we don't go overboard here because excessive organizing seems to defeat the purpose of being retired; it's like having a job again! We've read about folks who keep up a detailed inventory of every single item they carry aboard their RV; well, that's impressive, but I think I had rather just misplace a few things now and then. The same thing applies to keeping a detailed budget. I admire folks who are that organized, but our budget is to spend money when we have it and not to spend it when we don't. We maintain a modest slush fund on the side to take care of unforeseen expenses and vehicle maintenance and then manage the major investments according to market conditions.

We do have a few helpful gadgets like these stackable trays (Container Store's) in the overhead bins. They pretty much double the usable space:



In the belly, we have in one compartment a pullout tray that slides from either side of the bus and, in another, this plastic drawer unit we found at Target:



In other places inside the coach, we use a lot of these plastic tubs to contain things that would otherwise tip over and roll around when enroute:



Fortunately, Tiffin is generous with storage space, so we don't feel jammed at all. Sandy would say that Tiffin wasn't generous enough with closet space, but I think she would say that if the entire coach were a closet. I will give her credit where it is due, however; considering the closet(s) she had in our stick and brick houses, she has done a remarkable job of paring down her wardrobe for fulltiming, and it's still an ongoing project, as she finds clothes now and then that she rarely wears and removes them.

In the refrigerator, we keep things in these clear plastic trays to keep jars and beverages from tipping over and spilling. We learned the hard way on this one.



All of the important papers we need to have accessible can be housed in this accordion folder (Wal-Mart). Critical documents and valuables are in a fireproof safe in an undisclosed location. Operating manuals for the coach are kept in a briefcase behind the driver's seat.



This chairside table has a lid that opens up. Outside and inside casual shoes are kept in there.



So that's about it in terms of being organized. There is a storage compartment under the lift-up bed, of course, and certain other areas of private access that we don't advertise.

As far as keeping up with Phannie's maintenance schedule, I used to obsess over that a bit, but I have mostly turned that over to Bay Diesel in Red Bay, Alabama or Inland Truck in Irving, Texas, where I let them keep up with it on annual visits. They do a comprehensive analysis and take care of what's needed. I've grown to trust them after nearly six years, and the results speak for themselves.

We had the first cool front of the season to arrive rather meekly a couple of evenings ago. It was just cool enough to inspire me to fix a big pot of vegetable soup. It was really good, but it made a lot. We'll have some to freeze and give away.



This is one of those soups that doesn't really have a recipe. I just clean out the refrigerator and voila'!  This one has tomatoes, onion, cabbage, green pepper, carrots, corn, beans, sausage and ground beef in a tomato and beef broth. The seasoning? Three envelopes: Onion soup mix, vegetable soup mix (Knorr's) and ranch dressing mix along with a small amount of ketchup. Super easy and oh, so good. Wish you were here; I'd give you some to take home.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate it enough each day.






14 comments:

  1. Thank you for the honorable mention, Mike! You seem very organized and I guess we all have to find our own little niches and big niches for things. I'm like you in that I try to write when things come to my noggin' so ya just never know when my fingers strike the keys. I'd like to do a post one day on our storage as well, sometimes other peoples tricks work for you so variety is good! Your soup looks delish! I'll take a batch just for me. Bill isn't much of a soup person persay.

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    1. My pleasure, Patsy! You're right about this being an endeavor that's a matter of personal choice and the layout of your rig. And thanks again for writing an entertaining and "feelgood" blog.

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  2. Interesting and informative Mike. We do things similar and slightly different. It's what works for you that matters. You have given me a couple of ideas that I am going to use. The biggest difference between us is, you drive your home and we pull ours. Thanks for mention at the start, we are two weeks away from hitting the road and getting more excited each day. Take care and safe travels.

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    1. Thanks, Bill. You're right; good organization is that which works for you. I also get from others good ideas that I shamelessly steal. We'll be looking forward to reading about your adventures. Our best wishes are with you.

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  3. We met Patsy Irene and her family a few years ago when they were dreaming about fulltiming. So have followed them through steps and all the excitement as they are making there way, like we did over 10 years ago.
    You are much more organized that we are, but after 10 years we know were everything in our coach is located.
    Nothing a good homemade always so easy and so tasty, enjoy.

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    1. Thanks, George. We meet the nicest folks among fellow RVers, and we love to meet our cyber friends in person when we have the good fortune to do so. And I have definitely gained some inspiration from you as a cook. Being a foodie anyway, I appreciate your recipe section and your postings showing that cooking healthy and tasty food doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Well done!

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  4. Great post, as usual. I really like reading everyone's "pre take off" list. Often I pick up a tidbit to add to ours. The soup looks delish!

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    1. Hi, Nan! I also get some good ideas from other bloggers, and that's among the things I enjoy about reading posts by good writers like you. And yes, the soup was pretty good, if I say so myself!

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  5. Like the packets you use for the soup, may have to try that sometime. When we cook which is rare

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    1. Hi, guys! Well, we don't cook much either, and when we do, it's usually something simple like that soup. The packets make it all the easier. By the way, we're really enjoying your posts from Santa Fe. Take care!

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  6. Your soup looks delicious! And the tubs are great for organizing. Great post, thank you so much for sharing. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

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    1. Back atcha, Linda! So good to hear from our wonderful Canadian friends. Thank you for stopping by.

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  7. I am big on checklists and the great thing about a paper calendar is it never crashes. In the interest of full disclosure,I do rely on my phone calendar a lot:(

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    1. Well, I admire anyone's full embrace of technology. I'm a little embarrassed that I haven't made the calendar transition. However, at my age, I can probably be forgiven. Safe travels, Y'all, and thanks for stopping by!

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