21-25 November; Sun, Rain…and more rain and a Ramp Build

This past Friday and Saturday were gorgeous!  Plenty of sun and temperatures in the 60’s.  Here is a good shot of the FamCamp while there were still leaves on the trees:

Last remaining color in the area.  The rain has since taken all the leaves for the season.

Last remaining color in the area. The rain has since taken all the leaves for the season.

I also received another two gifts in the mail on Friday.  One was a great shirt form Cabelas from Mandi, but it is a bit too big and is on its way for exchange.  Ashley and Garreck got me this really kewl Packer Cap that I saw McCarthy wearing during the NFL’s salute to Veteran’s games:

OK, I'm no good at selfies...this is about the kewl Cap!

OK, I’m no good at selfies…this is about the kewl Cap!  I didn’t get a good shot of the camo on the bill.

Saturday we awoke to another great day, and we were out and about early.  I explained in a previous post that Terri and I want to be able to give back to the community where we can while we are travelling.  Jason and Meghan’s church support a “helps” ministry, doing things for people in the community that do not have the ways or means to get done what they need done.  Saturday we went to a house not too far from Sumter and built a wheel chair ramp for a family that was in desperate need.  The gentleman of the family has been in a wheel chair for a few years, and his wife has had to “bump” him down the steps each time she has to take him for doctor’s appointments or whatever.  We started at about 09:00 and finished by about 4:00 in the afternoon.  We had a great time working with some great folks from the church…and the guy that led the whole thing up is a local general contractor, and had every awesome power tool you can imagine.  Here are some shots of the day:

There were about 7 of us, and everyone chipped in and worked real well together.

There were about 7 of us, and everyone chipped in and worked real well together.

Measure once, cut twice??

Measure once, cut twice??

Getting the final rails on.

Getting the final rails on.

Clean up time.

Clean up time.

The final product.  Not too bad!

The final product. Not too bad!

Terri was able to spend a lot of time with the lady that requested the ramp be built.  Apparently they lost their original home on this spot to fire a couple of year’s ago, and the church aided in getting them in this house.  The husband had been the grounds keeper at the church until he fell sick and has been wheel chair bound since.  The lady of the house had been employed by a major retailer in the area, and when she came down with pneumonia, they let her go.  They have several children, but they all live a long ways away, so there really is no one to help them out with projects such as this.  She and Terri spent a couple of hours just chatting in our truck.  I think the woman really enjoyed the outlet and having someone to chat with.  Those of you that know Terri know that she is able to carry on a conversation or two.

Sunday brought on the rain!  And rain it has ever since.  I put a small coffee can out on the picnic table, and it is almost half full.  Not too bad though, as the temps are in the 60’s.  On the good news front, there have been no surprises or leaks, and that is a good thing.  I’m still dealing with this sinus infection, or whatever it is.  I’ve never had one stick around this long.  Hopefully it will go away with the rain, which is supposed to depart tomorrow night, and it is supposed to be awesome for Thanksgiving.

I’m currently watching our Grand Daughter…(who is supposed to be taking a nap!) and trying to get this blog post out.  Peyton has other ideas it seems.  Terri, Meghan and Logan are back at the grocery store.  I think we’ve made three trips already for Thanksgiving dinner…how much can a few folks eat??

Tech Tip (or not…more of a confusing situation):  One of the major things you have to deal with while on the road full-time is your mail.  There are several mail forwarding services that will provide you a physical street address (which is needed for residency and other things) and forward what you want, when you want for a fee.  Two that I have been looking at are the Escapee’s RV Club service, which recently opened an office in Florida, and the other is NATO Mail, (recommended by my dad’s neighbor who full-timed for 6 years) which claims to be the oldest service in the US.  There is typically an annual enrollment fee of anywhere between $100 to $180, plus you establish an account with them for when they forward your mail to where you are at.  There are all  kinds of services provided…at a cost.  They will open mail and read it to you if you have critical items, will trash the junk mail…or not, and forward any first class or magazines you wish to have delivered.  They are very good at working with you to “turn on and turn off” depending where you are at and what your needs are.  Most post offices will allow you to have your mail delivered to a general delivery address, and most camp grounds will allow you to have mail delivered as well.

We have not started a forwarding service yet, as our house has still not sold.  We have been fortunate to be near relatives, so we have most things delivered to their address.  The other fortunate thing we have going for us is our daughter and son-in-law in Orlando are able to get over to the house from time to time to check things out and pick up the mail.  I currently have the mail on hold until there is a day they can get to the house, and I have the mail delivered the day before they get there.  There is not cost for mail hold, but the USPS is very expensive to have your mail forwarded.  It would cost more for a month of forwarding than it would for the annual enrollment fee of the other services.  The other strategy we have is to switch our permanent address to Mandi and Justin’s and have them be our forwarding service.   I like this option the best, as I know who is looking at our confidential mail.  This can be very important, as we found out last week.

We had a mail drop done in mid October, and apparently the post office did not deliver everything that had accumulated.  I did not know this at the time and was quite happy with the small amount of mail we had.  A few days ago I had a delivery done again, and Mandi called to report she had about a two foot stack of mail!  Yuck!!  Luckily, all of our bills related to the house are taken care of on-line.  I am also able to do vehicle registrations on-line and have them delivered to the address I choose.  The things that I cannot do on-line are things like the IRS!  Apparently there was a form missing from our last filing, and the IRS sent a letter on 20 October that gave me 20 days to respond.  By the time I actually received the letter, this time period had passed.  After spending 1.5 hours on hold with the IRS, I was able to actually speak to someone, who was very nice by the way.  She related that they cannot extend the “grace period” so our return would be filed without the additional form and I would be getting more letters demanding additional payment until I could get the required form in.  What complicated this matter is our tax preparer is on vacation until 1 Dec, so nothing will get accomplished until then. We will see what the outcome is.

A lot of info that you may not be interested in, but thought I would cover this aspect of the RV Life, as there are issues if you do not have adequate means in place to get your mail.  We are really hoping things break through soon on the sale of the house.  We had not budgeted for having to pay for all of the bills related to the house (utilities, lawn care, insurance, etc.) for this long.  We are doing just fine, but would be in much better shape if the house would sell.  Once that does happen, there will be a lot of work to do, as we still have a lot of our possessions in the house for “staging.”  Once we get a sale, we will need to separate the keep from the not keep and get a different storage unit that will handle what we want to keep.  Most of the people we know that are full-time divested themselves of everything other than what they can take with them in the rig.  We went a different route just in case something were to happen and we needed to re-establish a household somewhere.

This is something that can cause major issues between you and your spouse if you do not work this out ahead of time and have a plan.  Terri and I have had more than one or two spirited discussions on this subject, but we both understand what we want to do, and after over 31 years of marriage we have learned to work with each other to iron out situations where we have opposing view points.  I was in the “sell it all” camp, and she was not, so we compromised…we are not keeping it all, but we are not selling it all either.  There are some items that hold special memories for us, and if we ever re-establish a “sticks and bricks” residence again, it will be nice to have those “things.”  We have talked a few times about the fact that after over two month’s on the road, there really is not one thing we really miss.  That is a good thing I guess.

We certainly hope this finds all of you in good health and spirits, and ready for the Holiday Season.  We get the opportunity to gather around hopefully with family and friends this Thursday to give thanks for everything the Good Lord has provided…at least that is how we look at Thanksgiving in our household.  I hope that your day is focused on giving thanks, rather than giving out greenbacks.  Is is just me, or has Thanksgiving recently turned into Black Thursday?  By all of the ads on TV and elsewhere, it seems most retailers open up on Thanksgiving afternoon…wutz up with that?  I hope that those folks that have to work are able to spend time with their loved ones’ before they have to go to work on a Federal Holiday.  Please also keep all those in your thoughts and prayers that cannot be with family, including our armed forces and other emergency services personnel that will be busy keeping us safe while we enjoy the Holiday!

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