Now in Byron, Georgia

Now in Byron, Georgia

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Purchased House, MRI Results, Headed North for summer

May 30 – June 10, 2018: 

WOW, what a month!  It’s hard to believe we have just been here in Florida for just a month.  When we arrived I was worried about my health and seeing a doctor, starting the search for a house, and not knowing the area.  Now we have purchased a house and I got a perfect bill of health.  We also now know the area pretty well after looking at around 20 houses and then going to furniture stores.  I also got a little RV maintenance done in between the almost 2 weeks of continuous rain.

A sunset sky looking east from our RV window.  Really weird sky.

We purchased tickets to see John Fogerty and ZZ Top a few months ago while still in Texas.  They were at the Coachman Park in Clearwater FL.  

Billy Gibbens came on with John.  What a great concert!  We both agree that Fogerty was the best of the 2.  ZZ Top was still great but Fogerty played longer and had a lot of energy!

Last post took us up to me having an MRI the next day, Wednesday, the 30th of May.  I was very worried about getting this done as I am very claustrophobic!  I called the doctor who prescribed the MRI and got a couple of Xanax to take before getting into the MRI.  These actually helped some!  

After arriving all Xanaxed up, they have me lay down on a slide table with my head between two soft head restraints.  Then as if that is not enough, they placed wedges between my head and the soft restraints on each side to make my head completely immobile.  But wait, there’s more!!  They place what looks like a hockey mask just an inch or so above my face!  So now my head is locked in place and I am looking out through a couple of little holes and I am not even in the damn machine yet!  They give me a squeeze ball that I thought at first was for me relieve stress but it was for telling them I want out!  The technician asked if I was ready, I said YES and up and back I went.  I kept my eyes closed the entire time.  

They only had to take me out 2 times in the 30 or so minutes I was there.  The first time was after the scan was complete without contrast.  Since the scan was complete for this segment I could raise my head and turn it side to side after they pulled me out.  They told me that the next scan with contrast would be shorter at just about 10 minutes.  So, up and back into the machine I went.  This time I wanted out after just about 5 minutes!  I was in sort of a panic as I couldn’t move my head.  It didn’t help for them to keep saying, don’t move your head and reminding me that I was stuck in a tube and couldn't move!  Once out of the tube they said that I couldn’t move my head as the whole scan would need to be done again.  Shit!  OK send me back in!  I made it!!

For me, 3 things helped; the Xanax, the feeling like I wasn’t completely in the tube, and the loud noises from the machine.  The loud noises took my attention away from my immobilized location.  The MRI room is very cold and there is a lot of air movement in the room too.  I think that the combination of cold and the air movement that I could feel on my legs gave me the feeling like half of me wasn’t in the tube.  I really don’t know if I was completely in or not as I wasn’t going to open my eyes to find out!  I was told I would be completely in the tube so thinking I wasn’t was just fine with me!

After 9 days from the MRI scan the doctor’s office called and said that the MRI results were in and that the doctor would review the results with me.  We made an appointment for 2 hours later that day.  OK, now I am going through the possibilities so I won’t be caught off guard when I hear the results.  So I dig the biggest hole I can think of (couple days to live with radiation and chemo) and place myself in it mentally so I can react and climb out.  That’s what I do when faced with the unknown.

Now we are in the doctor’s office waiting for the doctor to appear.  This is the worst part, waiting for the doctor!  So the doctor comes in all smiles and happy, so far so good.  After she reads the results she says they found nothing wrong!  Now I just want to get out there, live my life, and never come back and not go through that again. WHEW!

Back 6 years ago when we sold our last house and moved into our RV I thought we would never own a house again.  Well, I was wrong, again!  We closed on our North Port Florida house on the last day of May.  For me I think the past 6 years paying rent (Campgrounds) and living in the ultimate homeowners associations (HOAs) at Campgrounds, made me want my own house again.  

Our original plan from 6 years ago when we went full time RVing was to do it a minimum of 5 years.  We had many options after the 5 years and one of them was purchasing another house somewhere, we didn’t know where at the time.  We gave thought to parking the RV in an RV resort in Texas or Florida but after 5 years of wintering a few months a winter in a Texas RV resort we decided that living that way wasn’t for us.  

If we decided to continue full time traveling in an RV we would need to purchase another RV and truck soon.  For us it just didn’t make sense to purchase another depreciating asset.  Lastly, Patty needs more permanence with her medical care.  And with my recent health scare I am good with settling down a little more too.  

Patty found these reclining chairs in the local paper for just $100 for the pair!  We replaced our expensive La-Z-Boys with these.  The La-Z-Boys will stay in the house.  These are lighter and more durable for RV use.

The past couple of weeks we spent going from furniture store to furniture store getting furniture.  After living in an RV we only have 2 chairs and a mattress that we can put in the house.  So, we basically need everything!  We knew this going in and had anticipated this 6 years ago.  We really liked the idea of starting over and not using stuff we had accumulated from our past.  This is a brand new start for us as was full time RVing was 6 years ago.  

What a name for a furniture store!  We bought a guest bed from here that we had to assemble.  It was missing a piece so I went in to get or order the piece that was missing.  The guy I talked to there treated me like I was a criminal!  Does this guy actually think I stopped the assembly to drive over here to steal a random piece of wood!  So he lived up to the name!  It is now ordered and will take 6 weeks to come in!  We most likely will not be back here!

Our La-Z-Boys waiting for the TV to show up!

So far we have purchased a new dining room set, living room theater love seat, a guest room bed, outdoor pool furniture, and bar stools for the kitchen.  We also now have our own washer and dryer again.  We still need a bedroom set for us and our Mattress that we have.  We ordered one but it was out of stock until maybe after June.  It has been a rough time for the credit card for sure!

Minutes after closing the washer and dryers show up!  We had to wait on the keys to let the delivery guys in!

Parts of the bed that the part was missing from.

Until we return to take delivery of more of our furniture,
these are our beds when we come back in August.

Until the dining room stuff arrives in a few months
we set up the outside patio furniture in its' place.

Then while we weren’t looking for furniture we were fixing and organizing the house for us to leave it for 5 months.  We still have commitments with family and friends up north this summer and fall.  After a lot of calling around we managed to get a pool service to take care of the pool and a lawn service to take care of the lawn while we are away.  

Me putting a table together. 
This furniture is almost identical to the stuff we have in Texas!

Patty put up shower curtain in the guest bath.

We also decided to put up all of the hurricane shutters on the house.  After these were installed it became very dark in the house.  We are leaving the AC on at 80 to keep the humidity down and with the sun completely blocked out it should be pretty efficient.  

Some weird things we found in the house with the ceiling fans, lighting and remote controls.  The house has a fan in each of the rooms with exception of the bathrooms.  One fan in the entranceway had a wall switch that was bypassed so it wasn’t functional.   The fan it 3 feet overhead so to turn it on you need a ladder.  I pulled of the wall switch plate and reconnected the switch so we could turn the fan off and on from the floor.  Why would someone do that?!  

Then in the kitchen the ceiling fan has lights and nothing turns them on.  This fan is identical to the one in the master bedroom and it has a remote.  So I figure the kitchen fan also uses a remote to operate.  The problem is that there is no remote left behind by the previous owners.  I tried to use the remote from the bedroom but to no avail. I pulled off the wall switch plate for this fan and it looked to be wired correctly.  I shorted the switch to make sure the switch was good and found it had a slight spark.  I figure that this means that the switch is probably powering a remote in the fan.  

Before I buy a new remote though I need to know absolutely that there is a remote in the fan and I need to know the code.  This means I need to find where they put the remote in the fan.  Lucky for me it was where I first looked at the top near the ceiling.  To make sure it worked I got the code from it and programmed the remote we have for the bedroom with it.  Yup, it works!  Now we just need to get a new remote control.

Ah, more light after I got the kitchen ceiling fan to work. Note how dark it is in the other rooms now that all of the hurricane shutters are on.

Then there is the dining room ceiling fan without lights.  Again, this is so weird, the dining room doesn’t have any lights in it at all!  The fan seems to be from the original build of the house in 2002 as it is identical to many of the others in the house.  Why would you build a house with no lights in the dining room?  Even weirder, why would the previous owner live that way?!  That is a fix for when we come back in the fall.

Lastly, the garage door keypad remote doesn’t work.  The door motor operator looks to be very new and the keypad is older so I figure it just needs to be programmed.  

First I took the cover off of the keypad to make sure the battery was good. The keypad had no battery and hasn’t for some time.  The keypad uses a 9-volt battery and the negative connection has broken off!  So it appears that the previous owners just didn’t fix it or never used it.  And that could be the case that they never used it because I am not sure how often we would ever use either.  We were going to use it as an easy way for someone to enter the house if needed while we are gone.  Oh well, another fix for later.

We did a couple more things before we left.  We replaced the keyset on the front door and we replaced the kitchen sink fixture.  We decided that a new keyset was in order so we were the only ones now with keys to the house.  The kitchen sink fixture was old and a little corroded.  This was an easy install and since Home Depot had a nice one on clearance I just went ahead and replaced it.

Our last day at the house was Saturday the 9th of June.  I finished the hurricane shutters and then sprayed the perimeter with a barrier bug spray that is good for 6 months.  We took a last dip in the pool and we were out of there.

We don't know anything about this cactus at the front of the house, but it is blooming now.

On another note, Patty’s son Chas has decided he wants to relocate to Florida with us for a while.  He currently is living in New Jersey.  We had been encouraging him to relocate so he can start a new career path and get his finances in order.  New Jersey is a very expensive place for kids to start out in.  He has done pretty well there but he needs a change that he is unable to do in NJ and staying with us for a while should make a difference. 

It looks like he will move down to our house at the beginning of August.  I was hoping he would come sooner so the house would be occupied sooner but August is better than late October when we return.  He is also going to take care of the pool and lawn so we can then cancel the paid services.

On Sunday the 10th of June we left our RV site in Sarasota and are heading north to Indiana and grandkids.

Stay tuned!

Arrive in Florida to Purchase a House

May 06 - 29, 2018: 

We left Alabama and are now going to make our last big turn south.   We are about 570 miles away from our destination so we will make 2 more stops before getting to Sarasota Florida.  We are going to stop next near Tallahassee, 230 miles further and then in Ocala another 210 miles away.  That will leave us with about 160 miles to our month-long stop in Sarasota Florida.

On our way to Tallahassee we got on to I-10 east again in Mobile AL.  I-10 in this part of the country is in great shape.  However, the part of I 10 through LA and MS is not good at all and is why we took I 20 for that part of the trip.  From now on the travel is going to be pretty easy going!  

Loads of yellow flowers along the way on I 10 into Florida

Our first stop is at the Beaver Lake RV Park just outside Tallahassee Florida.  This was just a one night stop and this place was perfect for a one nighter.  The park was behind a Marathon service station.  I had to pull into the service station and pay inside before going to the park that was just to the right and behind it.  The park was just a grass field but it had full 50 amp hook-ups for just $20 a night with Passport.  The place is literally just a few hundred feet off of I-10 so it really is a quick on and off.

Our site in Beaver Lake (We never saw a lake).  Note the plants still on the table after I had hooked up to leave!

The only memorable thing for us here was that we forgot our 2 plants the next morning after leaving.  Putting the plants into the RV is usually one of the last things I do.  I try to do this chore just before hooking up the truck to the RV.  Sometimes I forget and I do it as the last thing before we leave.  The chore of lifting the heavy plants has become a larger chore since having this weird headache issue.  I really don’t want to strain too much because it makes my head hurt.  So I get down and bend my knees the way I should anyway and lift with my legs.  Anyway, I forgot the plants this time.  It was the first time ever we have forgotten the plants and left without them.  The only way I remembered was that the RV door handrail was still out when I looked out the rearview mirrors just after we got onto the highway.  That made me remember the plants.  The exits were sort of far apart here at about 10 miles so we had to make 20 mile U-Turn to get the plants.

After the plant U-Turn it was smooth sailing the rest of the way to our next stop in Ocala Florida.  On our way we went through our last time change so we are now on Eastern Time again.  That was our third time change in 3 weeks and will be our last for some time.  We won’t go back west again until after the new year in 2019.  We also made our last big turn south on to I 75.

Of course we are in the south.  We are on I 75 in Florida

Ocala will be a 2 night stop for us.  Patty had originally picked a park on the north side of Ocala for our stay here.  However, as we were driving she reviewed our blog post from 2 years ago when we were here last.  She saw that we really liked the place where we stayed then.  We stayed at the Ocala Sun Resort on the south side of Ocala.  

So we decided to return there again. When we were there last it was a Passport place which made it a great place but now it is no longer Passport.  The cost is now $40 a night verses $20 a couple years ago.  We like the place so it is all good!

Our site in Ocala Sun Resort

This was an interesting homemade RV in Ocala Sun Resort.

The homemade 5th wheel even had a residential door and windows.  The RV has rain gutters with filters that fill their freshwater tank!  Never seen anything like this!

Not too much to write about while here as we were going to do laundry while here on our one full day.  We did go out for dinner at Harry’s Seafood Pub in downtown Ocala.  The food was very good here so we would recommend it.

Dinner out in downtown Ocala Florida

Not sure why, but across the street from Harry's is this painted horse

The day we were here, the 8th was the worst that my head issue got with exception to the original headache I had back on the 30th of May.  It had been 8 days since I went to the ER with my head hurting.  Now I have something affecting the rear of my legs.  It is the weirdest thing; it is hard for me to straighten my legs out as I walk.  It feels like the back of my legs are tight and when I straighten them out as I walk it hurts so I have to walk funny.  This weird walking is very strenuous and makes my head hurt.  None of this was happening before I had the massive headache.  Anyway, I couldn’t even walk the few hundred feet to the laundry in the park!  The people who know me and the amount of walking I do, they know this is just not right!  So we got the clothes washed, using the truck to go back and forth.

So, that was it for Ocala and now we are on our way to our month-long stop in Sarasota just about 2 hours down I 75.

This is one of the worst cases of love bug splatter we have seen! 
The car had just come off of I 75.

We arrive at our site in Sarasota around 1pm at the Windward Isles RV Park just off of I 75 on Clark Road.  We are staying on site A which is just a few sites from where we stayed 2 years ago.  This park is very close to everything here.  Our friends Connie and Tony are just 3 miles to the west.  One of the best beaches, Siesta Key, is just about 4 miles west.  Also, just about anything you would want is also right on Clark Road.   The price is only $500 for the month too and includes electric! So this is a perfect RV Park for us here.

Windward Isles has these murals painted on one of their perimeter walls.

Another reason for staying at this park is that it is centered in the area where we want to house hunt.  We want to look for a house as far north as Bradenton and as far south as Punta Gorda.  This is 60 mile stretch along I 75 on the west coast of Florida.  For us, this area is just far enough south to stay warm in the winter and still be close to major airports and highways.  It also helps that we have friends here too!

Our site in Windward Isles when the truck was here. 
Mostly we have had a rental car!

On our first full day here, Thursday the 10th, I have my appointment with a doctor concerning my headache ER visit the week before in Texas.  At the appointment, I gave the doctor a rundown of my concerns as well as the paper summary of the CT scan done in Texas.  She performed a neurological exam that included me walking around. The Doctor didn’t see anything wrong with me.  Basically, all of my symptoms had started to dissipate the day after my worst day in Ocala.  By the time of this appointment, 2 days later, I didn’t have any symptoms except for a mild headache.   I was still taking Ibuprofen, so I am thinking the symptoms are just being masked by the pain med.

The doctor is quite perplexed and leaves to consult with a neurologist.  After the consult she says that, yes I should have the MRI but that they don’t think it is anything I need ASAP.  However, they stressed that if anything changes I should go straight to an ER.  I was told that they would call me to set up the MRI and I was lead to believe it would be next week sometime.

I’m going to jump a bit ahead in time in this post to cover my health issue up to today the 29th of May.  

As of today, the 29th of May, I have not had any symptoms or issues for several days now.  I am no longer taking any medications and feel fine.  I have even started back on my exercise routine but at a greatly reduced level.  So I am walking the same distance but no running and am doing the same resistance routine but at less resistance.  I just don’t know what to think right now. 

The MRI is scheduled for tomorrow the 30th at 12:30pm.  My biggest concern is getting into the tight tube as I am very claustrophobic.  I asked the MRI lab how much of me would need to go into the machine thinking that it may just be my head.  Ha, ha, no, all of me needs to be in the machine. To make matters worse, the woman on the phone at the MRI lab said that there is no need to worry; it is just like being in a “Twinkie”!!!!  This woman is definitely NOT claustrophobic! Ok, so I do have a little concern about my head, but, you know, it is what it is, I’ll deal with it.

Other than the MRI issue we have had another issue with the truck after getting here.  The truck bucks and hesitates when accelerating sometimes, but not all of the time.  So I took it into Sarasota Ford on Wednesday the 23rd to have it looked at.  We rented a car so we could still be able to run around while it is in the shop.  We have never had this truck in the shop shorter than a couple of days unless it is just an oil change.

After a week we just found out that the truck will be ready this coming Friday, June 1,  That will have been 9 days since I took it in.  Some of the problem was that it was a holiday weekend but still!  So we have a fuel sensor that is bad causing the bucking issue.  We also have a small oil leak that causes a pretty bad stink inside the truck and a backup light out.  Oh the fun of having a big old (going on 11 years) diesel truck.  This will be it's last year for us.

Since being here in Sarasota we have spent some quality time with our friends Connie and Tony.  They live just about 3 miles from where we are in Windward Isles. So in between house hunting, truck repairs, and doctor visits we have had dinner a couple of times at their house and have gone out a couple of times.  We also got together with the Suncoast
Naturists for dinner at a local restaurant.  

Look real close and you can see the swarm of Lovebugs!
 This is the most I have ever seen!

A nice place in Sarasota for dinner!

Love bugs again!

Patty and Tony playing shuffleboard.  We haven't seen one of these for some time

Dinner with the Suncoast Naturists.  We plan to join the organization

Now for house hunting!  We had a terrible start on Friday the 11th. On Friday the houses we looked at were just not anything we would even consider.  One was in a flood zone and the other was in a great location but I would need to basically bulldoze it down and start over. Furthermore, the prices were way too high to even think about either one.  They were in our budget but not after what we would need to spend on them.  We were somewhat depressed after that.

These were at a local strip mall in North Port

A mailbox we spotted while house hunting.
Not sure where it was but it's funny!

Now that we looked at houses on Friday our realtor was not available until next Wednesday to look at other houses!  We didn't let that stop us as we were on mission, we were going to find a house damn it!  Patty started looking on the internet and I made a checklist of things that were important to us so we could evaluate them before we even looked at them.  The checklist includes things like the distance to grocery stores, highways, as well as how many rooms had carpet that we would want to replace and or do work in.  Anyone in a flood zone was automatically left off the list.

With our list we went on drive-bys Sunday and Monday and looked at about 20 houses.  Then on Tuesday we again checked off houses that didn't make the grade for us.  By the time Wednesday rolled around we had a small list of properties we wanted to visit with our realtor.

On Wednesday we looked at 4 houses, 2 that were of interest, and we made an offer which has now been accepted on the last house.  At this time we close on the property on the 30th of May - tomorrow!  It will have been exactly 3 weeks since we started looking!

Two entrances to North Port.  This one is from the west

This is from the east about 2 miles from our new house

Our new house during the inspection

Over the Memorial Day weekend we have been doing furniture shopping.  Since we have been living in an RV for the past 6 years we don't have anything.  Well, we do have something, we have 2 La-Z-Boy chairs we bought for the RV a couple years ago.  We also have a very nice mattress we are going to keep too.  So far we have purchased the bedroom set, the living room set, the dining room set, the washer and dryer, and 6 bar stools.  Still need all of the little stuff but that can wait until we are back here at the end of October.

The 2 La-Z-Boy chairs will leave a space in the RV without chairs.  We want to fill that space with replacement chairs before we sell it in the fall.  So Patty found a pair of very nice chairs for sale in the local paper.  We went to look at them and really liked them so we bought them.  They were for sale by the nicest older woman who is downsizing after her husband died.  They are the same color as the love seat in the RV and were just $100 for the pair!  Actually, we are planning to put these chairs in the RV and leave the La-Z-Boys here when we leave in a couple weeks.

While furniture shopping we also "battled" Alberto.  I say battled in quotes because it really was not much of a storm here anyway.  The storm was a lot of rain and a little wind.  Again the big thing here for was the longevity of the rain.  It has been raining here for over a week now.  So far this has not been the usual Florida rain we are used to where it only rains a bit in the afternoon.  This has been on and off heavy rain with light showers and with bits of sun just to throw you off and forget sunglasses.

This was what it looked like out our RV window the day Alberto passed us. 
Not a big deal

Nice lunch here in Sarasota

Right now our plan is to leave here, Florida, on the 10th and travel to Indiana for a month.  Then we will travel to New Jersey for 2 months.  In October we will head to Ohio for a wedding and then back to Florida.  

While back in Florida we will sell the current rig (Truck and 5th wheel) and purchase a smaller travel trailer and an SUV to pull it.  Our plan then is to head back to Texas to our site there after the new year for a couple months.  At that time we plan to sell the site there too.  

After all of that we will be residents of Florida and will travel on shorter duration trips from our house in Florida.

Just had to put this picture in!  I was getting ready put our garbage into the dumpster here in our RV Park when I saw this in between the lids.  Ok, I was shocked at first as I thought this was a real kitty.  No, it was a stuffed toy kitty! Whew!

Busy, Busy!

Stay tuned!