Journey DL, Minimalism, Old Diary

Oh Dear, and Headlights

It got to me today.  Don’t ask why.  Maybe the weather.  Maybe the cold.  Maybe the waiting.  Maybe the … well, who the heck knows…. Maybe I’m just crackin’ up.

I keep saying that this is my diary, and today’s entry (more than some) is primarily for me:  Moi!,  μου, mnie, мене, minua.


someone else captured that deer in the headlights feeling quite well

Today I’m feeling paralyzed. Kind of “deer in headlights” paralyzed. That’s it in a nutshell.  I am sitting here without tools, without normal household furniture and possessions laying around with no idea how long we’ll be here and no idea whether anything we might do around the house would be of any help in selling it.  If I had the slightest idea that some particular action would move something forward, anything forward, even imperceptible distances I’d jump on it right now.  That’s what I do — I move forward.  I tackle the problem and get it fixed.  But I don’t KNOW the PROBLEM.  I have no idea WHAT to FIX.  Which, to those of you who are eavesdropping on me today you know is to get this house sold.  It’s a great property.  It’s a huge property.  The possibilities are virtually limitless — but we need to find someone with 1.) vision and 2.) money who wants to buy it.

I’ve been putting off doing our taxes  just because I AM feeling paralyzed — Oh, I have time yet; and I have completed my taxes well after this date several times but I’m usually finished by now and halfway to getting my refund by the middle of March.

I have been dawdling around on my insurance decision — that medical insurance change because our COBRA expires at the end of this month.  I had a conversation with an Independent Agent on Friday — (so I am doing things) just not quickly the way I usually would do them.  I think I know what will ultimately happen but I’m awaiting a certificate of credible insurance in the mail.

Every time I start thinking insurance or tax, or whether to remodel anything, or not, or whether to plan future movement — pretty much anything — I just feel like the walls are closing in.  It is so unlike me; but the problem is that movement in almost any direction seems completely wasteful.  The things I could do are all in areas I’ve never been skilled and frankly don’t want to be skilled. It’s transient.  It will pass.  Others have much worse situations to deal with.  They, however, are not me.  And I can’t walk their mile.  I have my own to walk. I’m doing the best I can but I’ll admit to feeling weaker about this circumstance than anything I’ve ever faced in life.  There seems nothing I can do to change anything.  Even if we were to decide to abort our mobility plans — which we have no intent on doing — we still need to get the house sold so that the money can go to other commitments — commitments other people are now depending upon.

I have even been wondering whether some of my frustration relates to the way I have avoided waste.  I have always wanted to be efficient; and I have always avoided doing things that had to be redone. I put off deadlines so that when I was done I could not decide there was a better way of doing the job, or that someone else would say they changed their mind. I avoid repetitious tasks; I love learning, but don’t ask me to do something I learned over and over and over and over — I’d rather learn new things than just keep repeating what I’ve done 1,000 times.  When I drive I usually go the shortest, or the most efficient way.  But I don’t like returning the same way I went out.

Yesterday Peg said something about touching up the woodwork around the bathroom window.  There are two windows up here in the residence that could use some work.  Well, actually they all could but that’s another story for someone who intends to put new  windows into the place in the future.  So, I went to look at the kitchen and bathroom sills.  They need scraping, and heavy sanding.  Then I could paint or stain the lovely old wood  — and they would look freshly painted.


I could just scream

But that’s the rub.  I know that when I look at real estate my eye is always drawn to those things that are freshly done — and I always ask myself — for a house this old, why is that freshly refinished?  What was wrong?

Do other people do that?  I have no idea.  I rarely seem to think the same thoughts that others do.  I just seem to have a different approach to life.  Therefore I never know whether my take on how to appeal to other people’s interests is valid or invalid.

apple splatter

Apple splatter on a wall

So, I could just about scream — but even that wouldn’t accomplish anything.  I’m not even sure it would release all that much energy.  I remember mom telling me the story about one time that dad was really upset about some argument between the two of them.  He left the kitchen and went out side.  He picked up a fallen apple from a tree and threw it against the garage. The apple splattered to smithereens.  Mom decided that if dad could do that to an apple, she’d hate to think what he could do to her if he got angry at HER (he never did), and ever after behaved in such a way as to be a peacemaker, not an agitator.

Kathryn offered us tickets to a local chili cook off.  — sounds nice but the only way to go and enjoy it is to go back to meat eating.  We’ve been working at staying OFF the animal products.  I could have accepted, and we could have gone and noshed all afternoon long — but that’s not where I want to be.

I have a couple image projects to work on but right now I don’t even have the heart to tackle them.  I thought about picking up some more furniture when we were at IKEA but what’s the sense of buying “stuff” that we’ll just have to sell or store when the house finally sells.

Peg suggested that we hire a rental car for a couple weeks allowing her to stay home and me to make a photo trip somewhere — I usually seem to do phototrips in mid-winter.  But, now that we are retired I don’t want to travel without her.  I have gone so many places alone and I’d really prefer going with her. And it’s not warm enough yet to take off in Journey, not that there’s anything wrong with traveling in Journey at this time of year, but because we’d have to pack everything in the school into Journey and then unpack it when we return  — and it’s too early in the year to leave the house unattended.

We clearly will never put ourselves in this kind of limbo again. Accepting an offer to purchase with a home sale contingency did not work out for us. That deal dragged on for 6 months, each extension allowed because we hoped the buyer could get their home sold.  Having bought Journey when we did we also limited our subsequent options.  That one choice further dictated how we could get from here to mobility.  Downsizing was something with which we desperately needed help. The only person we knew with experience in estate sales was leaving the area permanently.  We made the best decisions we could make at the time, and within the time frame we could foresee.  I’m not regretting anything we did; but I would not put myself in the situation to do the same all over again.

temper tantrumI’m recounting these things as my way of reminding myself that I am not a victim.  I made conscious choices at each step of the way and some of the choices did not work out the way we “planned.”  I guess at the moment the subject of planning is not my favorite subject in the world.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Journey DL, RV Living

I Ought to Be In… RV’s

Classy RV

They don’t come any more classy than this

I thought we might be spending part of today at Journey, getting some work done in her.  Alas, that did not happen. Here’s hoping tomorrow might see more success at that.

A couple days ago I checked the weather forecast and there was a week in the 40’s coming up with mid 50’s a week from tomorrow.  I looked again today and now all those 40’s are 30’s and 50’s are nowhere to be found.  I guess wishing doesn’t make it so, at least when it comes to Spring. Continue reading

Journey DL, Old Diary

When Desire Backfires

Well, that was an exercise in… well… …something.

I’ve got a great son in law.  When he heard me talking the other day about going over and making up the spice racks myself because I needed something to do he burst my bubble, and he made up the spice racks for me.  I have spice racks now, but I lost my thing-to-do.

I’m really thankful to him, they look wonderful.  They will help solve the right-space-for-the-right-sized-items problem in Journey.  We have been storing small jars (like spice jars which we have a lot of) in plastic tubs in the overhead storage compartments.  Every time we needed a small thing we were taking big things out of compartments and searching through a bunch of items inside to find what we were looking for.  I thought it would be easier to have those small items on shelves in the pantry where they can be seen and put larger items like pancake batter boxes, and cans of baked beans, or raw rice & pasta in the overhead compartments.  We can organize them more easily and we’ll be going into those compartments less frequently.

But I was hoping for something I could do to be productive in a way other than sitting behind my computer.

Don’t get US wrong as a family. Mike uses my stuff, I use his — it wasn’t a “thing” about me coming into his workshop.  But alas, he (like me) is betwixt and between locations.

He has been moving his business from Electric Avenue (the shop he has shared with his lifelong pal, Jason). If you remember from last summer, he bought a new building for his business. The process of getting moved has been long and arduous.  So has the process of preparing the new building ready to be moved into.  Just a week or two ago he finally got the building water tight: the old building had roof and tuck pointing issues.  Not long from now he’ll be doing business there and he’ll be a happy camper, no longer bouncing between three locations to get a day’s work done.  More repairs lie ahead before the shop is up to his standard, but he’s at least getting close to opening up the shop and being out of the old one. It will be wonderful for him to be able to work IN the building instead of UPON it!

Bottom line for this particular post is that:

  • I have no tools,
  • He has plenty of tools,
  • His tools are spread between three places halfway across town.
  • The job of building these simple shelves requires some fine line routing; something I don’t do a lot.

Mike’s rational thought was make ’em so my father in law doesn’t cut his hand off and we end up spending the day at the emergency room.  He was probably right.  He did a better job than I would have and we’ll be proud to have them in Journey.


So, best laid plans of mice and all, today we spend doing other things.

I haven’t been out of the house in a few says so we took a jaunt to Elkhorn.  Along the way we searched for a replacement video switch box (no joy), shelf support bracket (success) and we finally got some tortillas to try our tortilla pizza recipes.

Let me return to the subject of shelf supports for a moment….

Things change

FDB1902Our Journey is an ’02 model.  Over the years things change.  Not long ago all the kitchen cabinets I had ever seen had shelf supports like those on the right.  They work with counter brackets like these on the left.


I never thought much about those brackets until today.  It seems that a lot of cabinet shelves now use very different shelf supports — like these.

41JYzQLfFjL._SL500_SS500_381430218_817It turns out we walked a lot of aisles looking for the right kind of brackets.  Eventually we found them, just where people our age don’t like to look:  on the bottom shelf about 6″ off the floor.  We found our brackets.  Eventually.

Lesson to self— if we buy another RV,
check out little things like whether
any of the parts onboard are already obsolete.


We have another showing on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed and all that.  And, we have sort of resolved to ourselves to be more judicious about our showing verbiage.  No opinions.  Tell prospective buyers anything they want to know about the facts of the building.  Say nothing about our personal takeaways from living here — to us it may be a good thing; to them maybe not so much.  Going through the showing process too many times is not helpful.  You get defensive about why no one wants your lovely house; that’s not productive in getting the property sold.  Perhaps the things we don’t like they might want.  And vice versa.

So, enough for today.  Talk to you tomorrow.


Journey DL, Old Diary

Just Puffin Along

A beautiful day spent just puff, puff, puffin along.   Peg has finished a hooked rug that she started way too long ago to be given to the originally intended recipient, but glad to be finished anyway.  Actually, she still needs to do the edging — requiring a trip to the fabric store for the right material (the likes of which we HAD before downsizing). I spent most of the day still working on keywording, and sorting files.  I’m making progress but I know I’ve said that before.  Perhaps I should have done this job sooner but I’m doing it now at a time when any productive project is welcome.

Tomorrow my girls are going out together to see Lincoln.  I’m trying to determine whether I should bounce over to the kids’ house while they are gone and see whether I might be able to build a spice shelf for our pantry in Journey. I thought Mike might be able to build one for me but he has his hands full and it would be a good thing if I could actually do something with my hands for a change.  These computer projects are getting old and my butt is getting big from sitting here without much movement.



Puffins are so cute!

Journey DL, Old Diary, RV Living

Progress on the RV Front

That title applies literally!  The TV has been installed in Journey‘s lounge (the front of the coach)!  🙂  Michael did a whiz bang job.  We were at Journey for an hour or so to make the final fitting adjustments and get the assembly mounted in place.

Mike put in a nice lower storage compartment to reclaim some of the space made available because the LCD unit is so much lighter and smaller than the old CRT TV. Continue reading

Journey DL, Old Diary

It’s Too Early for Cabin Fever But…

FrazzledI know it’s still too early for cabin fever but somehow that’s no consolation. The urge to organize is driving me crazy.

birdbox nesting

If it wasn’t so snowy and cold outside I’d be tempted to get out there and hang up bird boxes, or paint something, or — well, do anything outdoors.

But then, of course, I don’t have any tools anymore.  All the yard tools and woodworking tools went bye-bye in the estate sale.


I’m not quite so bonkers as to start vacuuming.  If’n I did my dear wife would think I’ve really gone over the edge.  But I’m not far removed from doing just that. It is hard for a guy who has always had the messiest desk in the office (in the days when I worked IN someone else’s office) to realize just how much I crave order in the universe.

Some months ago Kathryn said something about “…how much you like to have your things around you.”  Over the last year I have reflected on that comment more times than I’d like to admit.  I really DO need order.  I realize now how many times I have rearranged furniture in my life — looking for just the right arrangement — that perfect harmony of function over space.

Last summer, while we were mobile in Journey,  I spent a lot of time sorting through the “basement” storage areas and moving things from one cabinet to the other to find more efficient ways of storing them.  By the time we returned to Cudahy I had things pretty well condensed, easily accessible, and efficiently stowed. (Should I be saying “WE”? — but truth is it was mostly me moving things around.)  And then we moved everything out of Journey and into the school.  ARGH!!!!!!

The moving part was easy.

The difficult part has been:

  • remembering what was put where
  • remembering what was left in Journey  (some cords and hoses and tool-ish sorts of things still live in Journey‘s basement
  • remembering what (that odds and ends that we used to have while living in the school) we no longer have.  So many things went away in the estate sale that even now — 8 or 9 months after the sale — I still have a hard time remembering whether we still have something or not.  Just yesterday I needed to put air into one of the snowblower tires and I forgot that a small air compressor that we had was in storage at Kathryn’s house.  Luckily, Michael remembered.

Somehow it was easy getting my head around where things were in Journey.  Getting my head around where they are in the school has been a lot harder. I’m not sure why.  I supposed it’s partly because I’m not wanting to be here;  I want to be elsewhere.


This all feels a little Neanderthal to me.  At least I’m not making Peggy do the heavy lifting.

This will all be over soon enough. And I’m not complaining in the least  — for me this is all part of knowing myself better.  I’m discovering little glitches about my character that have surprised me.

I suppose on some levels we are going to repeat the process when we get back into Journey. The difference will be that in Journey  we will be where we want to be and where we want to be nesting. Also, it’s a much smaller space.  Here was have 230 sq ft worth of stuff spread out in about 2200 sq ft of living space in a 6500 sq ft building.  I used to joke with my models that since moving into the school I had become obsessive compulsive because the school “eats” things — they just disappear.  Well, with less stuff in it, it still seems to eat things — they just disappear from sight for days or weeks until we realize we set something down in a different place than normal and forgot where that might have been.   Moving back into that 230 sq ft will be easier just because the volume of stuff will fit the available storage volume.

So, that’s where MY mind is at today.  I hope you’re having a good one too.

Journey DL, Minimalism, Old Diary

Once More Into The Fray

Just like the Lady Law heads out of Newport harbor we once again have to get serious about Real Estate.


We gotta get this house sold!


Real EstateI’ve spent much of the last couple days dealing with my least favorite subject in the world:  money.  Well, not my least favorite subject.  There are terrible things in this world but generally I needn’t worry about them.  That said, I do sometimes feel like I’m living in the movie Idiocrasy.Oh, I realize  it’s not all that bad yet, but there sure seems to be some crazy and foolish stuff going on in the world today.

Real Estate

We’ll be having more conversations with R/E agents in the next few days.  I also need to sort out some solution for my 64th year of health insurance.  Our Cobra runs out at the end of February and I need to suss out a replacement.  I also need to make some decisions about our income to hold us over until the house sells.

But — all of that is just “life.”  And it’s better to have problems to deal with than to be dead.  So, I’ll happily deal with what lies ahead.

On a cautiously positive note; Michael showed the house yesterday to someone who had seen it advertised before, but not before we had our offer. Once the property was listed as “sale pending” he didn’t want to get involved with a bidding war and scratched the school off their considerations.  It’s a family with 6 kids, a vet, and even though they would have to sell their own house I could feel good about selling the school to someone who could use it as is, as a private dwelling.

3744ramseyWe’ll see what happens.  They have a couple days to consider things; and they knew we are at the verge of re-listing with an agent – so acting quickly would be to their advantage.

In the meantime we have a break in the winter’s cold. Temps hit the 40’s yesterday and we might touch 57 today with rain and a low of 35 (hooray — above freezing).  I won’t get too giddy because two days hence we’ll be back a lows of zero.


Michael’s working on the TV cabinet for the lounge.  As soon as he gets his part sorted I’ll be able to get the TV mounted, make the other wiring changes and video equipment changes that I have planned. Then, with everything buttoned back up so parts aren’t rolling around in the back of Journey we’ll be able to get her out for some winter exercise. We should be exercising her mechanical systems every 30 days and I get a little eager to make sure she’s still in tip-top shape.  She’s got to last us a good long while.



Journey DL, RV Living

Journey Needs Exercise – Peg Needs Driving Lessons

We’ve been in Cudahy a little more than a month now.  It’s time for Journey to get some exercise.

Even though we aren’t using her, the RV needs periodic exercise.  Gotta keep her batteries charged up and keep all them joints and junctions flexible.  So, when it warms up a little bit we’ll crank ‘er up and head over to State Fair Park.

It’s the big parking lot at State Fair this time because I really need to get Peggy under the wheel and make sure she can handle the coach in the event anything should happen to me.  She’s a great driver — on of the few I can fall asleep in the car with when they’re driving.  But she’s only ever driven something this large once — back in the 70’s when I had my little white tractor and she couldn’t even push the clutch pedal to the floor. Well, no clutch now, and a lot more experience.  So, I’m sure she’ll do just fine.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t be head scratching time.  It’s a much different series of steps getting moving in Journeythan in a car.  At least at the fair park we can putter around without fear of hitting anything.

UnObtainable TV’s

Do you remember the remade movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth?  In it they needed a new alloy out of which to construct the boring machine. The material was called UNOBTAINIUM because there was nowhere to buy it from.  Well I have my own un-obtainium sort of problem.  It’s called Built In TV cabinets.

These are the two TV cabinets in Journey:

…and I have to tell you that I have no idea how Michael is going to get the TV’s OUT of those cabinets.  I have taken the one in the bedroom as far apart as my available tools and woodworking skills will allow and I can’t figure out how they got them IN there.  Even after everything removable is removed the case is still larger than the opening…. Go Figure.

I know my son-in-law is smarter about building things than I am, but I have to admit that I’ve been fretting over how this is going to work ever since we got back to Cudahy.  There has to be a secret.  Somewhere…. but I’ll be doggone if I have not been able to find it.

I guess that’s one reason I have not been over to Journeysince we put her into storage.   Sigh…..