Why is this so difficult?  

I have certainly endured many more emotionally painful experiences in my life: the loss of my father as a teenager, my mother’s cancer & tragic accident, not living close to my grandsons…so why was this so difficult?
Not being in control of my body position was hard.   We want to be in control of our body, our space, our comfort level.
When you are told that you must remain in a face-down position for 7 days, 24/7, it does seem impossible.

The first two days were pretty tough, I hadn’t slept for almost 48 hours.  I just couldn’t get comfortable, despite the chair and head piece we rented.  I was tormented with guilt and shame…I didn’t have cancer or other terminal illness, was not enduring painful treatments, chemo or radiation, with awful side effects.  No, all I had to do was remain in a face-down position.  I felt guilty that I was being such a wuss and a bitch!  Poor Jeff & Rck

By day three, I figured some things out, plus a doctor friend prescribed a very low dose of Ativan that helped!  My face-down position never was comfortable, but tolerable with physical and mental adjustments! And the experience was enlightening on my strength & fortitude.  

I’m visualizing lying on white sand beaches, listening to the waves, hiking mountaintops to see the beautiful landscapes below.   I reminded myself that I still have control of my mind and thoughts.  

We are still planning on lift off October 23.

Until next time….

    Things were looking up until I had to look down for seven days!

    Sometimes plans need to be revised, updated, or simply just changed due to circumstances beyond our control.  It’s called life!

    But, WTF!!!!    I’m retiring.  Now, I have a hole in my eye?  Are you fricking kidding me?

    I noticed my vision was worsening, especially the last month.  But, if it wasn’t for Jeff’s pestering, I may not have gotten the eye exam.  I just figured I needed prescription glasses, not the cheap OTC readers I had ben using since my LASIK surgery.

    You can imagine my surprise and shock when the optometrist said you have a hole and need to see a retina specialist…soon.  And the news I needed surgery to save my vision.

    The procedure didn’t scare me, it was the required recovery for a positive outcome.  I have to remain in a face-down position, not just one day post-op, but for 7 days, 24/7.

    My initial reaction, hell no!  How could anyone do that?  Well, my attitude quickly changed when the provider asked if I preferred going blind in that eye!!!  Ok, that puts a whole new spin on things!!  Perhaps, we can consider it???

    I’ve always prided myself as being one of those people who “roll with the punches”,”take what is given me”, with the attitude, it is what it is, and with the understanding, the only thing we have control of is our attitude & reaction to what we are dealt with.

    I lost my father in a tragic accident when I was 15 and learned very quickly what strength, determination, fortitude, and courage meant.   When your priority is taking care of your mentally disabled brother, your distraught, unstable mother, while going to high school, you either break or become stronger.

    When I complained to my grandfather about the “plight” I felt I was in and asked him, “why me?”   His reply was, “my little, Debbie…life is like playing a game of cards, you play the cards you are dealt to the best of your ability, or you pass….your choice, but I hope you choose to play.”

    I have never forgotten my grandfathers words and I will never stop playing this game of life, to the best of my ability.

    After talking with the surgery scheduler, I felt better.  And I can rent a massage type chair and device for the bed to help maintain the face-down position.   I’m playing my cards!!

    So, I go tomorrow with a positive heart and know I can endure 7 days of being face-down!

     

     

     

    How’s Rick?

    Everyone has been asking….how’s Rick doing with all this?

    Rick is my brother with Down syndrome.  He came to live with us after my mother passed in 2004.  He lived with us for four years, then we transitioned him to an apartment in Tempe so he could participate in the ARC, a program for developmentally disabled adults.

    He thrived in Tempe, living independently, working at Safeway, going to the ARC.  He also was involved with the Down Syndrome Network and Best Buddies.

    So how could we take that all away from him?  It was not an easy decision.

    But, again sometimes the universe comes through, the planets are in alignment, and prayers are answered.

    His roommate lost his job and would have to move back in with his parents.  They would not be renewing the lease.

    Rick was sad at first, he didn’t want to leave his friends. But when he heard about our traveling plans he came on board.

    The last seven months have not always been easy, but with love and patience we have adjusted, knowing we would have adventures soon!

     

     

    What’s a domicile?

    We’re Floridians!

    This new lifestyle has it’s own vocabulary!

    Fulltimers: people who live in an RV

    Fiver:  Fifth wheel

    Diesel pusher:  motor home

    Full hook-ups:  campground site with electricity, water, and sewer

    Boondocking:  camping without hookups, usually in national forests, deserts, BLM land for free or small fee.

    Domicile: your legal residence.  Fulltimers have the option of legally declaring another state for their residence.  The advantages are saving on vehicle registration, income tax, and insurance.

    We chose Florida for our domicile for the advantages listed above.  We enlisted the help of blogs I follow, Chapter 3 Travels and Wheeling It.  I love their style of writing and have learned a great deal about the lifestyle.  They are my inspiration!

    This also became another overwhelming and daunting task, but we finally figured it out. First step was signing up with a mail forwarding company to get an actual address.  We chose St. Brendan’s Isle, but there are others.  We found them to be extremely helpful and affordable   Our mail is sent to them, and when we want a delivery, we tell them where and it’s sent to us.  They even get rid of the junk!  .

    Once we had the Florida address, we could transfer our vehicle insurance, apply for health insurance, register the vehicles.  We would have to physically go to Florida to complete the rest and get drivers licenses.

    Florida for the winter?  Not bad for our first adventure!

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    If not now, when?

    We have always been in the spirit of taking risk, stepping up, and making a leap.

    13754179_908557055955789_8756889692372552095_nOur original plan was to wait until 2017.  I could retire at 62 in May of 2016 so why wait?

    In January we upped our game plan and started the process of getting rid of stuff.  At first, it was hard, but then it became liberating.  We get so attached to things, it’s almost like our stuff owns us.

    Why do we have five TV’s?  How in the world did we accumulate so much stuff in the first place.  America long ago became a culture defined by consumerism.  We are bombarded daily by advertising convincing us to buy stuff we didn’t know we needed.  We’ve all drunk the Kool Aid:  we have become a nation of hoarders, addicted to the quick-fix and disposable, leaving us with the profoundly dysfunctional relationship with our stuff.

    My heart does not reside in things, nor do my hopes or sense of well-being

    We put things in piles-throw away, give away, sell, or keep.  One room, one closet, one drawer at a time.   Since our HOA only allowed two garage sales per year, we needed another option.  An estate auction seemed the ideal solution.  Sell everything in one day.  Another risk but it needed to happen.

    Was it successful?  Well, we didn’t make what we hoped for, but in the end it was enough!

    Now what?  We moved into our 24 ft travel trailer, in a RV park close to my work.  Talk about being cramped.  Three of us, Jeff, my brother, and me plus three dogs.  Togetherness had a whole new meaning.

    Since the house was empty, we could get it ready for sale.  We cleaned, scrubbed, painted, updated, well mostly Jeff did the work!

    The big fifth wheel we ordered was ready sooner than expected.   The universe was being good to us!

    But, then the painful waiting on the house to sell.  Four months, two realtors we finally got an offer.  Less than we hoped, but it was enough.

    I decided to work a couple of more months to put more money away, but now we at least had a date for lift off!

    Now to figure out our next steps…..

     

     

    You’re doing what?

    How does someone decide to sell their house, most of their possessions to live in an RV and travel?

    Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.  Helen Keller

    This wasn’t a rash decision or one made impulsively.  Actually, it evolved over a few years.

    In 2011, we invested $30,000 in an embroidery business, thinking it would help to support us in retirement. I had always wanted to own a business, be in charge of my life, destiny. Guess, I got the entrepreneur spirit from my father.

    We worked very hard for three years, tried several marketing techniques,  different niches, but in the end it was one big epic fail!   Despite losing so much money, it was a blessing because we found out what we really wanted to do. Did we really want to work 24/7 supporting a business? Not really.

    When Jeff was forced into early retirement in 2013, we started talking about our life and what we wanted to do. Since,  I had only been working three days a week, devoting my time to the business we had accumulated mountains of debt.   We had discussions about our priorities, our passions, and what we enjoyed.

    Obviously, family was the first priority.  However, the family connection we had always envisioned wasn’t happening.  We had moved to Arizona from our hometown in Illinois where most of our family was.  One daughter was in New Jersey with our three grandsons and our other daughter in Arizona was busy with her life.  After ten years of praying and hoping they would move back to Arizona, I finally had to give up the idyllic version of the Grandmother I wanted to be.  There would be no weekly sleepovers, attending school events, or holiday celebrations. It is what it is and I had to accept that.  We love our daughters and grandsons with all our hearts but we don’t see them very often, two times a year at best.

    So, if we can’t have a life where we see our family on a regular basis, then what?

    We started having more discussions on what else would we like to do, see, experience. And how could we financially support that?

    What about retiring to a foreign country, perhaps Belize or Panama?  I love to research, so that’s what I did.  Retiring overseas…being an expat.  At first look, it was appealing!  Financially, it was doable.  But, my research revealed the downsides to being an expat, crime, humidity, bugs.  We had been in the southwest for almost 20 years and the thought of humidity and bugs was a downside.

    One day Jeff brought up the idea of living in an RV and traveling,  OK, so do we sell the house?  Our stuff? How do we figure all this out?  I needed to do more research!  I read books, blogs, joined FB pages.  Google became my new BFF.

    I found so much information of people living in their RV.  This is really a lifestyle and many people do it, not just old retired folks like us, but young couples, families with children.  People who want to explore, have a simpler life, not be tied down to their preconceived notions of a successful life.  They want an authentic life, simpler, not tied to possessions

    The decision was made.  That’s  what we want.   A life with experiences, instead of possessions.

    It wasn’t easy.  We had to sell our stuff, our house, buy an RV, change our address   The logistics were overwhelming, daunting at times.

    The first step was to get out of debt.  Fortunately, I found a wonderful job at a new company in Scottsdale, called Accolade.  It is a healthcare concierge  system, helping people with their healthcare decisions.  It was a new nursing experience, not being “hands-on” with patients, but the work was rewarding and the pay was really, really good!  We got out of debt and started saving.  Did I say the money was really good?

    The reactions to our plan were mostly positive, but there were some people who thought we were foolish, even irresponsible!  It didn’t sway us.  We have always been risk takers.

    Thanks for stopping by….