March 30, 2015

In The Dog House

I'm in the dog house!  Quite literally :-) 

It's for a great reason though!  We'll be bringing Rufus home this Saturday!!

Actually it was Ron's idea to start with.  He had a spot in his heart that was empty since the passing of Apollo last December.  He just couldn't rid himself of the want for a dog.  He began the search for a dog that we could adopt into our little family. 

But this new dog would be different than the majority of our previous dogs.  Ron was looking for a small to medium size dog weighing 15-20 pounds.  One that doesn't shed too much.  A dog around the age of 6-18 months.  A rescue dog rather than one purchased from a breeder.

Ron looked at the local dog rescue sites online for two weeks before deciding to fill me in on his plan.  He fell in love with Rufus, a terrier/mini Schnauzer mix.  From the description he will be a wonderful dog for us.  He's 14 months old, weighs 17 pounds, great with kids (not that we have any), men and women and cats too.  They say he's a cuddler.  We meet him this coming weekend.  If all goes well, we'll have another dog to love!

Since we lost Apollo, his kennel and dog house were left untouched.  It desperately needed a bath and scrub.  So out came a scrubby sponge, buckets of water and simple green cleaner.   I elected myself volunteer for this job.

Rufus will be an indoor dog most of the time.  We even plan to bring him to work with us.  But, there will be times when he'll need to 'be a dog' and stay in the kennel.  We wanted to make sure it was ready for him. 

The window and the vinyl door are back in place.  The dog bed cover is freshly washed too.  All that's missing is a dog.  Originally made for our large Rottweiler, I'm thinking Rufus may just get lost in here... 

March 24, 2015

A Necessary Evil

Yes, I said it, they're evil...

I'm talking about LAUNDROMATS!!

I have been very fortunate NOT to have to frequent the laundromat (very often).  My folks always had a working washer and dryer growing up.  The apartments Ron and I lived in had washers and dryers available.  Our first duplex came with hookups for machines.  So, we bought our first pair of laundry machines when Alex was a toddler.  We were in heaven!  After 25 years of living in this house, we're on our second set of these heavenly appliances.

We have a standard size washing machine here at home.  It can wash a couple pairs of pants plus 3 sweatshirts and a few t-shirts in one load.  It can not wash a comforter, even a twin size one.  The one I found in the attic a few days ago was desperately needing a thorough washing.  So, off to the laundromat I went.  I figured since I was going, I might as well bring the one from the Suburban.  We use it when we have something to haul and don't want to get the carpet too dirty.

I'd say I frequent the laundromat maybe once or twice per year.  Thankfully I have a handy husband who is able to repair our units if necessary.  So how do you go about finding a good laundromat?  The first time I had to use one I looked in the phone book-remember those?  It was convenient enough, only a 5 minute drive from the house.  Unfortunately it was one of the ones your mother warned you about... dirty floors, dirty machines and broken machines with 'Out Of Order' signs taped on them.  It had two small benches so only a couple of people could actually sit down while their wash was processing.  The one folding bench was usually busy when I had to go there.  It's no wonder they went out of business.  Time to find another laundromat.  Oh Joy!

I must say, I am happy to report that Paradise Laundry is my kind of business.  The owners actually take care of the place, regularly :-)  The machines are clean.  They have a row of standard washers, a row of double and triple load washers, even a 5 load washer.  Wow!  There are two walls of dryers with 8 on one wall and another dozen on the opposite wall.  There is a long bench running the length of the right interior wall.  There is a long folding table running along the left wall.  There are even 'games' under the folding tables for the little ones.  If you bring extra quarters with you, you can enjoy a snack from the vending machine or play a video game while your laundry is going.  There is a change machine if you didn't bring enough quarters and the larger load washers even take debit/credit cards.  Free wi-fi too for those that want it.

snacks and a video game to whittle away the time

view as you walk in: folding tables, single loaders, multi loaders and benches with dryers in the back area

games to keep the little ones busy

8 dryers on this wall, 12 opposite them

double and triple load washers

single load washers

I was there this past Thursday evening.  I arrived around 7PM and was the only one there at the time.  A few people wandered in before I left.  I put both of the comforters together in a double load washer.  It cost me $3.75.  The wash cycle took about 30 minutes.  Next up was the dryer.  Again, they both fit into the dryer together.  The cost was 25 cents for 7 minutes.  I dropped in 3 quarters.  To my surprise, they were completely dry in 15 minutes.

In and out in about an hour.  I am glad I found this laundromat.  I just hope that when we are on the road, we are lucky enough to find this level of cleanliness and quality in a laundromat.

March 17, 2015

This May Take Awhile

And I'm not joking around!

Tonight after work, I decided to tackle the black hole in our house.  Namely, the attic.

before: lots of clutter everywhere

It has served us well over the years.  We've lived in this house for just about 25 years now.  Ron installed an attic ladder shortly after we moved in.  He put up cut pieces of particle board to serve as flooring.  Most of them are nailed down in place so that we could store stuff up there, out of the way, in a place that rarely sees sunlight (or us).  Of course, some of it is seasonal like the fake Christmas tree pre-strung with lights.  Most of it, however, is just simply junk!    

the area just to the left when you first get off the ladder

I was up there tonight for two and a half hours.  And I barely touched the surface...  I did manage to get one small area free of clutter.  I went through piles of boxes, some containing nothing but the protective styrofoam for an item we either don't have anymore or we have used it so much we wouldn't dream of life without it.  I went through bags of snow shoes and gloves, some so small it could only mean it was one of the kiddos from years past.  I went through old framed photos, only one of which I'll bother to scan for memory sake.  There are three chairs up there that once belonged to my grandmother who passed away decades ago.  I could've sworn there were four chairs...   I toted the wet/dry vacuum up there once the area was clutter free.  That layer of dust had to go!
three rows: virtual garage sale, empty boxes and keepers
While taking items down the ladder, I made three rows to separate stuff.  The first row contains items to be added to my facebook Virtual Garage Sale.  Among the items are skis, snow boots, a fishing tackle box, a Coleman stove, canning jars & three chairs.  The second row is box upon box upon box.  We have a bad habit of keeping boxes just in case we want to return the item.  Problem is, the box gets sent to the black hole.  The third row is keepers.  There's an old "101 Dalmatians" comforter that will get washed and added to the VGS pile, packing peanuts which will go to the shop, a plastic water jug and framed photos.  Thankfully this is the smallest row.
on my to-do list for tomorrow 
I did not get to the back attic space yet.  I'll take on that mess another evening.  Or maybe tomorrow if I'm feeling up to the challenge.

March 12, 2015

We're Ready For Another RV Show

Spring is almost here and so is Camping Season.  Although, if you plan it right, it's always Camping Season!

It's March and time for the annual RV Show at Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento.  This year, as in years past, there will be a dozen dealerships selling hundreds of units.  This will be our third consecutive year attending this event.

On our first visit to the show two years ago, we had already thought of the idea that one day we could have an RV and work from the road.  We actually found out about the show when Burk, Ron's brother, said he and Karen would be attending.  They invited us to join them.  Burk and Karen told us that they had hoped to get a 5th wheel. When Burk has to travel for work they could pull the trailer and bring their home with them.  We told B & K about our idea for our working retirement and the fever began!

We began talking about all things RV with Burk & Karen.  We talked about the different types of RVs and why a 5th wheel would work better for them.  We walked into many different types of RVs.  We sat in them to rest our feet and also to talk about what it would be like in our new life.  It was quite a learning experience that first time at a show.

Fast forward two years and we have made an almost 180 turn from that first trip to a show.  We are now highly considering a travel trailer where we first thought a 5er would be best.  We are now ready to start part-time RVing instead of jumping right into full-time living in the RV.

Will we find a great deal at this show and buy one?  Who knows...

But, it's always fun to look!

March 2, 2015

The Trailer Has To Come First

Yesterday was the 'big day'.  We headed up the hill to Ghost Mountain Ranch Resort to hear the shpeel 90 minute presentation about why we should part with our money and become the newest members of the private RV club called Colorado River Adventures, CRA.

Ron and I had decided to make a day out of it.  After all, we were driving over an hour away to visit the place so we might as well have fun along the way.

We left the house around 11:00.  We didn't have to be at the resort until 2:00.  We wanted to have lunch in Placerville and then continue up the hill to Ghost Mountain.  We were hoping to eat at a brew pub.  After a few stops along the way we didn't have as much time as we were hoping.  We drove through Old Town Placerville hoping to find someplace to grab a quick bite.  We drove down Main Street past the Old Hangman's Tree, past the souvenir shops, past the chain restaurants.  Near the far end of Old Town we spotted our dining destination.  A small hole in the wall deli called Main Street Melters.

little hole in the wall

The weather was great!  Although it was a bit chilly, we enjoyed sunny skies and a light breeze with puffy clouds here and there.   The place was fairly busy for a Sunday afternoon.  We were third in line so we had enough time to peruse the menu.  We both looked at the area of the menu highlighting warm sandwiches.  Ron ordered The Big Boy which had plenty of roast beef and cheese melted inside a warm sourdough roll.  I ordered The Philly which boasted sausage, cheese and egg on a warm french roll.  We did end up waiting for our food for maybe 20 minutes or so.  Hard to believe it would take that long but whatever... we enjoyed the people watching while we waited.  Unfortunately, something was missing from my sandwich - the egg was no where to be seen.  I wasn't about to wait for another sandwich and ate it anyways.  It was delicious and we were both satisfied enough that we'd give them another shot at making our lunch should we find ourselves in the area again.  We both liked the outdoor seating area with it's wrap around bar.

Ghost Mountain Ranch Resort was another 20 minutes up the freeway.  We were surprised when we drove through a residential area.  I bet the residents don't like it much when 'camping season' is in full swing.  After a couple more turns we were there.

almost there...

not too busy yet, it's nice and quiet right now

We arrived at Ghost Mountain right on time and were introduced to George.   George said his TV wasn't working so he couldn't show us the video of the park.  No worries, we had seen it on their website when we researched the park.  He asked us questions about how we found out about them, about our children, about our RVing plans and about our previous camping experiences.

George wrote a lot of numbers on his scratch paper for us to look at.  It amazed me how he could write upside down (so we could see it better).  We were shown how much money the membership cost and how much the yearly dues are.  We were shown the various extras that come with the membership.  We were shown the different levels of membership.

Here's how it breaks down:
  • The Platinum Membership costs $11365 with yearly dues of $449.
  • The Gold Membership costs $9865 with yearly dues of $449.
  • The Silver Membership costs $8395 with yearly dues of $449.
The only difference between the membership levels is how much it costs to rent their on-property cabins.  For us, the Silver Membership would be the best option.

With their membership you are allowed to stay in the resort system for 14 days (they have 10 resorts to choose from).  Then before your next 14 day stay you must be off property for 7 days.  There are never any additional camping fees at their resorts.  The CRA membership also includes Coast To Coast membership, Good Sam Club membership and a few other extras.

It really is a good deal if that's the way you like to travel.  For us, we saw the benefits of having a CRA membership - IF we had our trailer!!

So after over two hours of sitting with George in his cubicle, we left without a membership.  Our consolation prize is: 20 nights camping at their resort (no weekends though), a small Android tablet (worth $40 in our opinion), $100 worth of gas (have to prepay at Shell, four visits at $25 each max, and 60 days between visits) and a 3 day/2 night stay at select hotels.

Will we use the free camping?  Yes, after we get our travel trailer.

Will we use the tablet?  Probably but not for anything too complicated.  The screen is small and it has to be at just the right angle to see the screen well.     

Will we bother with the Shell gas rebate program?  Hell yes, it's still free gas!!

Will we go some place and take advantage of the 3 day/2 night mini vacation?  Yes, we could use a mini vacation in nearby Lake Tahoe.  And we could use some of the free gas to get there...

UPDATE:  3/6/2015
Thank you for your comments!  Having had a few days to think it over and having your input, we are glad that we didn't jump off the deep end and purchase this membership.