Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fulltiming: Things That Didn't Surprise Us

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

The simple life. Before we pulled the trigger on fulltiming, we already knew that we were going to simplify our lives dramatically. Having owned Phannie for over four years while part-timing, we knew, for example, how easy it was for me to maintain the coach and for Sandy to do housekeeping chores. And so it has been. There's really not that much to do, maintenance-wise, other than keeping the tires aired up, the fluids checked, the tanks dumped and the occasional wash job (often done by mobile wash services). Oh yes, and then there are the minor things that break and that can be fixed by someone inept like me. We occasionally need the services of a professional if we need some work on the entertainment system or the house electrical or plumbing systems or something like that. Other than regular maintenance visits--for which I am fanatical in their accomplishment--I can think of only one time in five years that Phannie had a mechanical problem that required her to be towed to the shop, and that was because of a broken throttle link. 

Sandy is equally delighted with the ease of housekeeping. Vacuuming takes all of ten minutes, and the rest of the inside chores about twenty more. When we think about the large houses we've owned, one with acreage, our mind reels as to what we were possibly thinking back then. God was good finally to give us clarity of thought.

Accepting, and even celebrating, change. Sandy and our daughter, Mindy, will admit that they were never very fond of change. I think women, especially, need to feel secure and are leery of anything that threatens that security. Change can certainly do that, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the individual. 

Change, however, is inescapable. In a preceding post, reader Bob made a comment about the inevitability of evolving in our thoughts and opinions over time. He reminded me that the only thing really constant in life other than our faith and devotion to each other and our family is change. When I look back over the ten years represented by this blog, I am astonished at how radically our thinking and our circumstances have changed. Who would have thought that someone like us would be our happiest living in less than four hundred square feet when we once thought we had to have four thousand? The fact that we were able to make a change like that is evidence that we had finally obtained the wisdom that maturity is supposed to bring. We were not surprised, then, when we drove away from the stick and brick house with no regrets. 

We celebrate change now, even though every new destination represents the unknown and the unfamiliar and yes, change. Not everyone is comfortable with that, but we see it as new opportunities for learning and adventure. I can't imagine staring at the same four walls day after day instead of experiencing the excitement of what the view might be like around the next curve.

We knew the RV community.  I can't tell you the number of folks who, when we told them of our fulltiming plans, wrinkled up their noses as if they smelled something unpleasant; or worse, they audibly gasped, as if we told them we had leprosy. One thought we had fallen on hard times and were being forced to go and live in "one of those trailer parks." Little did he know that our financial circumstances were probably much more solvent than his. Indeed, at the time he was making his sneering comment, he also revealed that he was about to spend tens of thousands on repairs to his house. Pity, I thought.

The fact is that the RV community, like the rest of society, is diverse. There are some parks in disrepair or in scary locations that cater to a questionable clientele, but these are the exceptions. RV parks, in the large majority, are patronized by folks just like us. Some of the nicest, most well-adjusted (and, dare I say, well-heeled) people we have ever met in the last ten years have been found among the RV community. So we weren't surprised at this aspect of our new fulltiming life either. We were going to be among our own kind (except for the well-heeled part).

Okay, there you have some of the things that didn't surprise us. Next time, we might talk about a typical day when we have no outings planned. That should put you to sleep, if nothing else will.

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

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