Old Diary

Downsizing Redux


Our New 8″ skillet

Downsizing never ends, does it?  You think you’ve downsized to fit all your stuff from sticks & bricks into your new RV.  Then you change RV’s and learn you need to downsize even more.  Then you buy a few things and discover you need to get rid of stuff in order to have room inside to accommodate that new stuff you bought.

Then again there is the story of  someone altering your metabolism and “suddenly realize that the size of all those meals you have been preparing are too big and you start downsizing your recipes. Gradually you own up to the fact that the cooking utensils you brought along in the RV are all, really, bigger than you need to do the job required! And so it happened that the 12″ fry pan that I have used exactly twice since going mobile — but used to use almost daily — has been sitting on a shelf that is impossible to reach — we don’t need it.  And the 10″ skillet is really too large for most of the things I sauté or fry.  And we began looking for an 8″ skillet to complete the Turn of the Screw. Sigh.

It’s tough getting older — things keep changing on you!

Cuisinart-Food-ProcessorCuisinart+Mini+Prep+Food+ProcessorI can see it coming that we will be changing more of our cooking habits and equipment.  We have already downsized our 7 cup food processor for one of those little Cuisinart mini models.  And we downsized our bread maker (when the old one died) to a 1 lb. loaf from a 1 1/2 lb loaf machine.  I guess we downsized our stove from three burners to one — seeing as we never use the propane stove and always use the induction hob that we bought about the time we went mobile.  None of these were things on our Downsizing list — as if you can anticipate life’s demands in advance.  But you can’t, can you?

I had a sobering moment the other day when we visited the Don-Wes Flea Market.  I was in the men’s room.  (no — don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a disgusting story)  It’s a very humble men’s room as the flea market is free and the facilities are old.  But there are three stalls in the men’s room, plus the typical male urinals.  One of the stall doors was open, but I wasn’t going that far and didn’t think much about it.  About the time I was leaving the men’s room I noticed movement near that open stall door and glanced over and there was a fellow in a sports wheelchair trying to back out of the stall.  Not having an easy time of it.

Now, I don’t know where I’ve been, but at age 66 and having done a LOT of traveling in my life, I have NEVER seen a person in a wheelchair using a men’s public bathroom. But clearly it’s not in the same places.  I don’t know where I go.  And I don’t know where they go. And I haven’t thought a lot about the exigencies associated with being stuck in a wheelchair.  But I got to wondering about the nitty-gritty little details of life that one takes so much for granted:  like being able to walk into a restroom and pee, uninhibited.

I have never given much thought to what it must be like to be confined in a wheel chair.  But I gotta tell you that in 30 seconds I got a better lesson in the curiosities of life and fortune than I’ve had in many a year.

It’s hard to realize the huge role that chance and happenstance play in our lives. There’s an Old Testament verse to the effect that “Time and chance happen alike to all men.”  What is reasonably easy for me — is not so easy for others.  Not because I’m more skilled, or rich, or more handsome (cough, cough cough) but simply because I have been fortunate in life and haven’t driven my car into a tree, or been stuck with the wrong needle, or had sex with the wrong person.  But as we get older the lucky bits of life begin to even out.  I have lived longer by almost 50 years than one of the young men I went to school with.  For him, one moment of bad luck ended his life in an instant.  I’ve had a lot longer to accumulate both good and bad fortune but as you age there is increasingly more bad luck:  arthritis, and blood pressure, and … well, I don’t need to explain the obvious  we all get older.

There is a link here between life’s uncertainties and the continuing need to downsize.  Some of  our downsizing decisions arise for reasons just as unpredictable, just as whimsical, just as unforeseeable.  I guess that’s why I’m as deliberate as I am about the things I have a choice over.  If I have to downsize now — might it be good to anticipate the next step along the line and take that second step as well?  It’s like going into the car dealer for a lube oil change and they tell you have a bad strut in your suspension that needs changing too.  Do you do it right away, or do you object and delay.  Chances are you’re going to do it eventually — but the cost of delaying may just be spending more time in the dealership when you don’t want to, instead of now when it’s easily done.

And I guess that’s the way I am about life’s changes.  I’ve wanted to replace that little skillet for a few months now — but I haven’t found one in the right (smaller size) that was also induction safe.  When I found it — I bought it.  Having looked for several months I knew I wasn’t going to find one for less money than that — so I bought it.

Windshield ScreensRV Windshield Screens

twisty connectors

Twist stud fasteners


Snap fasteners

Remember those windshield screens I have been considering.  (I think I have written about them)  I just can’t seem to pull the trigger and purchase them.

I can get the Magnitude ones built to order and they require no drilled holes in the coach.  Or I can get Camping World ones — or some made right here in the valley to order — but those I need to drill holes in the coach for snaps or studs. And that’s where I’m hung up.  The choices:  Drill a couple dozen holes in the side of the coach to fasten covers on the front and side glass, or spend three times as much money for shades held in place by industrial magnets.  And I just can’t make up my mind which is the best or worst choice. And its not yet summer.  Thus far our coach A/C has been adequate and we may just wait one more year before we plop down that much money for windshield covers.    And whether we leave here at the first of June, or decide to do   a quick trip to Florida — either way we’ll be out of here before the worst of the summer’s heat.  I’ll do it eventually– but not right now.

Thanks for all the recent reader suggestions.  I always appreciate your comments and many of them have been the cause of changes in our plans,  purchases, and alterations.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Peg's Poetry

At last the Schoolhouse in Cudahy is sold
We found a buyer as good as gold
With Mike and Katy’s help we moved out
They are precious to us without a doubt.

We filled the RV from basement to ceiling
So much to do, set our heads a reeling.
We moved out to Bong Recreational Center
Waiting to close one chapter and another to enter.

On June seventh we sealed the deal
It went very smoothly. Is this for real?
Have we downsized enough?  Or too much?
Will we slow down, or still want to rush?

Thank you Kate and Mike and Melanie
For letting us live “on the road and free”
To head for new horizons now and then
Perhaps a circular route without an end.

Wherever the path may lead
Our heats will be with friends and family
So start ‘er up, Peter.  Let the Journey begin
Of living on the road with new horizons.

Peg Pazucha
On the sale of our house

Journey as she departs the school house for the very last time.

Journey as she departs the school house for the very last time.

New Horizons

Old Diary

65 – Vroom, Vroom

Things are getting weirder!

We left the house today while Triko was here working with a couple helpers and when we came home stuff up in the residence (sofa, dressers, etc.) all had price tags on.!!!!!!!

I swear, there are times that this process feels like we have died and we are angels watching people get disposing of dead people’s stuff.  I know — I have a weird sense of humor!

However, in fact we are mostly not getting too emotional about it all.  There are moments where we realize that something in particular carried more attachment with it than we might have guessed; but not so much that we change our mind about selling it, or regret having sold it.

Triko had someone in Monday who bought three items including two nice living room chairs.  Today two guys (her helpers) bought what she characterized as a bunch of junk — but still spent $130.00. Tomorrow she has someone coming in to look at my studio equipment — here’s hoping on that.


We made it over to Journey today; I can see that we’ll be making more and more trips. On some levels I’m beginning to wonder if we need to re-think some of our keep/sell options.  I have been confident that we’d fit it all in the RV without stress but just at the moment I’m having some doubts.

One reason was to stow away some gear; the other was to find some “passes.”  We had misplaced our 2 Federal Senior passes — and found them today.  We also has misplaced our Passport America card — and also found that.  I tried to set up our account on the Corps of Engineers website and found that without our Senior Pass number I could not do so. Now that I have the card I can think about some reservations.

Cooking Utensils

Our longstanding electric griddle has gone to meet the griddle gods at  Veolia heaven.  We replaced it with a Presto version and gave that a try today.  Different shape — almost square.  Seems to function well enough.  Not sure about hot spots — all I cooked were grilled cheese sammiches.  But it seemed to work just fine.

I think we are hurtling towards hardship territory. Triko wants to price things; we’d like to keep living for a while longer — she may win out in the great Estate Sale battle.  I think we’ll move all our clothing except for 7 days we’ll keep in a suitcase; take all our cookware and pretty much everything except for my desktop ‘puter over to Journey and just tough it out with hardly anything around us until the sale.  Even though she has a lot of experience doing this, sometimes sale buyers don’t always respect the off limits areas and I have just decided I don’t want people rooting around in things that are none of their business.  So, the solution is to get everything possible out of the school — and might as well start now.  We might eat a few extra meals out for two weeks — not the hardest “hardship” — even though I like my own cooking better most of the time.

Things Done Differently

I’ve been thinking about whether in retrospect we should have done anything differently than we have.

  • For one thing I am incredibly happy that I met Triko 6 years ago and have worked with her as my model numerous times over that span.  We know each other well now, I feel good about having her handle this sale, and I trust her. The choice of an Estate Sale Agent it NOT something I would change.
  • I have wondered if buying Journey when we did was the smartest idea.  I can’t comment on how “smart” an idea it was but I am pretty sure that I would repeat the choice of buying early and having a specific unit to look forward to.  Peg and I have camped before — so we are not unfamiliar with a little bit of “roughing it.” The lifestyle is not the thing we needed getting used to.  What we needed was a physical target to downsize into.  This big old school, with it’s 6500 sq ft of space has been a catch-all for a lot of junk.  Coming to terms with what we need compared to what we are accustomed to having has taken a lot of time.  This has been, very much, a work in progress.  We embraced our decision wholeheartedly; set off on a new course.  What we did not fully understand, we could not have, was just how much of our old life would be left behind.  Triko has been asking whether certain things were staying or going  — those have not been hard decisions and almost universally the choice has been going (being sold).  But it’s the thing that each of these is a conscious decision; not a decision made by default.  This has taken time.
  • Combining retiring with a simultaneous decision to downsize has been stressful.  Would it have been less so if we spaced it out over time. Perhaps.  But as I have said before we are not people who like treading water — spacing out the process is not something I would have wanted. I’m glad it’s worked out as it has.
  • Should we have started this process at a different time of year?  As things are working out I doubt we could have consciously planned things better than they are working out.  The biggest factor has been the combination of when the house went on the market and how long it took to get an offer.  We could control the first; the latter is completely out of our control.  But…. this process will put us on the road at the beginning of summer which means that if we choose we can stay in the area (N. Wisconsin, or MN, or the Upper Penninsula of MI) until autumn and see the family a couple/few times before the long winter absence.  I think this will prove to be perfect timing for the way our family works.  So, no change here either.