November: It is Over

Current Location: Klamath Falls Oregon, at 40 degrees F with snow coming tomorrow.

Berries on the madrones in our yard at Grants Pass

For me, May and October are the very best months.  I can never decide which I love best.  Springtime promise or the brilliance of gorgeous October days.  It is the same with February and November, on the opposite side of the spectrum.  Which do I like least.  Both months require an artist’s eye to see something other than gloom.  My friend Jeanne, back in Vermont, calls it “Stick Season”, an apt description. 

Dirt piles from the new septic evaluation, all now approved and ready to install

For now, though, it is November.  After the wettest October on record for Grants Pass, we are heading into winter.  The last of the leaves on the east side of the Cascades have fallen, while the color is just past peak on the west side.  We cross back and forth between these two worlds in about 2 hours, coming and going between our homes. 

When I say it is over, of course, part of what I refer to is “the election”.  Yeah that one.  Only time will tell if the dire predictions of one half of the country come to pass or the rosy promises of a bright future surprise the other half of the country. And that is all I am going to say about that here. 

The other thing that is over, the very good thing, is that the Rocky Point house sale is final.  Closing went without a hitch, on the day it was supposed to, papers all signed, and money in the bank.  Neat as a pin.

Mo planted this maple at Rocky Point in 2002

Mo and I went there one last time, to pick up the random garbage cans, and load up the cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaner.  I walked around the place, looking at the little trees we planted over the years that are now matured, remembering the sunny summer days we spent together working in the yard, bowling Bocci with the kids on the sloping lawn, cooking hot dogs on pitchforks at the edge of the forest over a campfire.

We planted this Japanese maple in 2010 when it was barely a whip

I didn’t feel the least bit sad, even though I took some time to give myself space to grieve a bit.  It wasn’t necessary.  Amazing memories, and yet no sadness or regret slipped into the joy that at last it was over.  Done.  Now the new owners can plow that snow and blow that roof and drive 40 minutes each way to the grocery store. 

I haven’t had the time to keep up on blogs lately, reading a few that I love, rarely commenting.  Until this past year, Mo and I traveled almost half the time, managing to get the rig out every single month for a few days or a week or a month, sometimes three.  This past year that has slipped, and I do miss our travels.  Mo said yesterday, “Well, we have a choice.  We can have a home or we can do all that other stuff that we enjoy.  Eventually we will do both again, but not right now.  Make your choice”. 

Mo planted this beech in 2004.  It took almost 4 years for it to get above the rock.

So I thought about it.  I spent a few moments thinking about how it would be to dump the idea of the house and simply keep living here at the apartments into old age, going to Grants Pass and the acre and the cottage, where the MoHo lives as a second home.  But the bottom line is that neither of us have any desire to be “full-timers”.  We want our home to return to when the road gets tiresome.  And we are old enough that an exit strategy would have to be in place, and that exit strategy would include a home somewhere.  Grants Pass is our exit strategy, our home for our last decade or so of life.  For the few moments I tried to imagine letting go of life to come on the cottage acre and building a home there, replacing it with world cruises or full time RV life, I only felt rootless. Not freedom.  Choices, it is always about choices.  It was fun to consider the options and fun to reaffirm that our choice is the best one for the life we want to live.

The pump house is finished, except for the final paint which will come after the house it built, and that sweet little building is filled with some serious high tech water management equipment.  We have the main well, which pumps raw water into our first 1700 gallon cistern installed last year.  A pump in that cistern sends water up to the first big pressure tank by way of a simple sediment filter, then that pressure tank sends water into the softening system.  From there, the softened water enters the reverse osmosis unit, with two big membranes that purify the product water to less than 3ppm of anything.  The R.O uses 4 gallons of water to produce 2.5 gallons of pure final product, which is then sent to the second 1700 gallon cistern.  From that cistern, another pump sends the water back to the second pressure tank which then sends that pure, sweet, fabulous water into the house. The waste water product exits the system into a gravity flow drain area which will subirrigate the fenceline shrubs which seem to be tolerant of the salt content.  Amazing system. 

Next year, when I start irrigating with this water, I will have to pay attention to the input and output of all parts of the system so I know just how long I can run whatever drip sprinklers we set up.  Some plants that we have don’t mind the salt, so I can use the raw water for them, but others that I took to Grants Pass had leaves turning brown and crispy, so those plants will get good water when all is said and done. 

I took a bath in that water, and oh my…what a treat.  No scum on the tub, silky baby soft hair, and no iron to stain the clothes.  I have said it before and will say it again.  There is nothing quite as wonderful as really good water, no matter the price.  If in the future, for any reason, we have trouble with the well and have to drill deeper, we already have the system in place to purify whatever water we get.  It is a big deal.

In late October, the “sand pears” were ready for canning.  Hard as little rocks, these pears don’t ever seem to ripen, and when they fall off the tree, they are still very hard.  I learned that they are called “canning pears” and once peeled and cooked they give of a heady perfume in the kitchen, and instead of getting all soft and mushy they stay slightly firm and are incredibly delicious. 

We spent a week or so each time at the Cottage, with Mo still working on her wood shop, and I started the big annual project of raking leaves.  I would rake a few hours each day and then retreat to the kitchen table to do some more quilting, and finally finally at last I finished my One Block Wonder kaleidoscope quilt.  This quilt was made from only one fabric, cut into a gazillion triangles sewed together into mirrored images creating the kaleidoscope effect.  It was more challenging that I expected, and about 3/4 of the way through I decided that I really didn’t like it.  I have learned that is a common response for me, however, and now that it is finished, I love it.  The fabric was one I bought years ago, and is one of my favorites.  I will put the top away and wait to quilt it until maybe the aforementioned month of February, when a burst of garden color will be much needed.

The grass just starting to green up after one rain

The grass after a couple of weeks of rain

One thing about living on the west side of Oregon that natives understand is lawn grass.  It is said that you can tell a true Oregonian by how brown their lawns are in the summer.  I spend a lot of time and energy making sure that my little patch of “real” lawn grass at the cottage is nice and green, especially appreciated when the temperatures are over 100 degrees and the rest of the acre is a fried crispy brown. 

The most amazing transformation happens when the rains start.  This year, instead of waiting until November, our rains started up in October, and literally, in a matter of days, the thin, crispy, brown stuff that you would swear was completely dead started greening up.  Our acre went from hard and crunchy to green and lush in less than a week.  A truly amazing thing to experience.  One of the minor joys of living on the west side.  It will stay green all winter, but Mo won’t have to mow until spring because the cool temperatures keep things in check.

Mo and I worked together, loading leaves into the little trailer and making trips to the composting area of the county landfill.  We learned after a couple of years in Grants Pass that this was a much better solution than trying to wait for the few burn days.  The piles were incredibly huge, made some awful smoke, and required days of standing around with a rake and pitchfork to make sure nothing got away from us.  The cost is more, but at least it benefits the environment more than all that smoke.


Finally, finally at last, tomorrow we are ready to hook up the Tracker and point the MoHo toward the west.  It may be November, it may be raining, but who cares, we are heading for the Coast.  We haven’t been to Harris Beach all year, and are looking forward to a few days doing nothing but hanging out, walking the beach, hiking the trails, and eating fish and chips.  It has been much much much too long!

10-08-2016 Writers Block

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say”

I saw this quote on Facebook today, buried in the news feed filled with political rants, silly cat videos, and friends checking in about their welfare as the hurricane slams Florida. 

I really don’t think much of bloggers who complain about their writer’s block, and now look at me.  If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t write.  Everyone has their own lives and no one is really paying much attention anyway.  I have rambled around in my own thoughts this past couple of months, thinking now and then that I need to write it to keep track of it, but finding no time and no motivation.  Everyday life has completely taken over my thoughts, and I wake at 3am thinking of really stupid things, and none of them are relevant to anyone, even me.

But then a couple of days ago, Mo asked, “Have you written any more about our Reunion Trip”.  No.  And this morning, she asked, “Have you written anything about our Transitions?”  No.  We talked a bit about this, and I acknowledged my writer’s block.  Where do I start, I have no gorgeous photos of beautiful places we have traveled, no interesting tidbits about campgrounds, trails hiked, rivers kayaked, all the things I love to read in other blogs.  Yet this is our life.  If I don’t write it, the memories will just slip quietly away into the jumble and we will forget.

The Rocky Point house is almost completely empty now

I whined to Mo a bit about “Where in the world to start when it has been so long?!”  Then as I drove to town for my flu shot, I found myself enjoying the gorgeous fall skies, the blessedly cool weather, and suddenly I noticed I was “blogging” in my mind.  When all else fails, those of you who have read long enough to remember, know that I fall back on the present moment to get started.  So bear with me.  I am going to ramble on about the present moment for the time being.  Eventually, if you hang in there, maybe a few tidbits about the past couple of months will slip in as well.

Fall has slipped in quietly this year, the colors just now starting to turn.  I wonder if the usual October 15th maximum is really going to happen, or if it will be a bit later.  Rains came early both here in Klamath Falls and in Grants Pass at the Cottage.  Blessed rains.  Last week the crispy, brown grasses of the non irrigated ground we have on most of our acre there turned soft, the ground turned quiet again, and the skies treated us to magnificent sunsets. 

Mo and I sat outside one evening in our chairs on the grass in the spot that has been marked for the new house to come.  We were on what will be our lovely covered back porch as we had a glass of wine and watched that sunset.  Everything is becoming more and more real.

The Rocky Point house is sold.  It sold in just under 5 months on September 1st.  Everything is going well and closing is supposed to happen at the end of this month.  We are encouraged because the buyers seem solvent, the financing is already arranged, down payment is large enough that the long awaited appraisal won’t be an issue when  it comes. 

Appraisals in this area are hard to come by and sometimes the wait is 3 or 4 months.  Sigh.  Too much selling and not enough appraisers!  Things are moving, even here in Klamath Falls, and much more so on the other side of the mountain with houses going for ridiculous prices and selling in a matter of days.  Not quite California yet, but well on its way.

Mo and I have spent the last few months since the house first went up for sale moving.  We were grateful for the time to do it slowly, a trailer load at a time, and now that the deadline is approaching, we are glad that it isn’t a race to the finish.  The required inspection showed a solid, well built, well maintained house, and our only required repairs were a GFCI outlet, a couple of wires in the breaker box, and a chimney cleaning.  Pretty good for a 15 year old house, I would say.

We managed to get everything from Mo’s big workshop moved to the RV shed in Grants Pass and there is still even room for the MoHo in there. 

We did have to put up a temporary shelter for the tractor.  Mo’s brother Dan, the ever ready helpful Dan, came south for a couple of days to help Mo put it up, and now the tractor AND the MoHo are under cover. 

In addition the the big shop, we had a small storage building, the garage, the boat house, and all that yard stuff.  We have always laughed about the “last load”.  You know, that one that looks like everything from the last minute is strapped on, with the rakes hanging from the bikes?  Well, we laughed again because a lot of our loads seemed to look like the “last load”.

This Saturday really WILL be the last load, however, and not a rake in sight.  We have 4 pieces of furniture that don’t fit in our current living space in Apartment A that will be moved from the house to Apartment B.  My quilting and crafting apartment, also serves as a nice space for storage, with a lovely guest bedroom and bathroom as well. 

Looking at our calendar, most of our time these last few weeks has been spent either at Rocky Point or at the Cottage.  Technically we live here in the Klamath Falls apartment, and at last things are slowing down enough that we actually get to be here more than 2 or 3 days at a time.  And you wonder why I have nothing to write about?  Back and forth on the same road, no matter how beautiful that road is, does not inspire eloquent thoughts.  Moments of beauty, yes, but not much that stays with me.

Here is the back elevation of the planned house with that great back porch where we were sitting in our imagination

Now that the house is almost sold, almost closed, we are moving forward on the building of the new one.  It is exciting.  I am a Pinterest addict, looking at ideas, saving color schemes, granite counters, “vignettes” (does anyone even know what a decorating vignette is?)  I didn’t until Pinterest. 

In the middle of house dreams, and driving back and forth, I managed to finish a baby quilt for sweet Georgia, another great niece for Mo, born in the middle of September.  I had fun making the quilt, but it took me much too long, since I started it back in June.

Last week our water guy started the upgrade of the water system, installing the second 1700 gallon cistern that will be clean and ready to store the magnificently pure and sparkling water that will emerge from the most complex water system you could imagine.  Well pumps into the first cistern, pumps back up to the first sediment filter, into the first 80 gallon pressure tank, then through the water softener to remove iron and calcium, then through the reverse osmosis membranes (3 gallons of good water for every 6 gallons used), then into the second 1700 gallon cistern, to the second 80 gallon pressure tank and into the house.  Pure, less than 10ppm of anything water.  A high price to pay, but better than digging a new well which is like gambling.  And neither of us cares to gamble to the tune of 15,000 bucks or so.  We knew the well was a low producer and that the water had a salt problem when Mo bought the property.  It is a common thing in that area, unlike Rocky Point, but I have to let go of Rocky Point water forever now.  Ah well.

Our builder started the new pump house so there is someplace to put all that stuff, and the pump house is being constructed with the same materials that will eventually grace the new house.  I got my first taste of decision making stress.  The pump house needs a roof, and we want the roof to match the someday new house, so without anything to go on, we had to pick the shingles for the new house so those same shingles would be on the pump house.  Quality, colors, prices, all going through my head at 3am.  If this one decision is this hard, I can only imagine how the rest will be. 

While the pump house was being built and the cistern was going in, the septic specialist showed up with his backhoe to dig our test pits.  It will be a couple of weeks before the Oregon DEQ can test the pits, but with this soil we shouldn’t have any problem with the new septic approval.  Loved looking at that soil.  I spent 35 years jumping down into pits like these, both dug with a backhoe, and ones I dug by hand, to look at all the morphological details in a soil in place in the ground.  I loved my job. 

We had initially planned just a single night at the cottage, but with the building going on we decided to stay another night.  Our plans to go home on Sunday were again changed when the chain pulley on the big RV door decided to jump the post and tangled up so we couldn’t close the door.  UhOh. 

We parked the MoHo in the shed, turned on a light or two, and hoped for the best.  Lots of “stuff” in that shed at the moment, and leaving the door open all night didn’t feel very good to either of us.  No problem, though, and nothing was missing when we got up the next morning.  The door repair guys showed up mid afternoon, fixed the door, warned us about opening it just a bit too high, and we were able to pack up and head back over the pass for our current home at the apartments.

Still, I enjoyed our extra days there, the coziness of the cottage is always fun.  Daughter Deborah stopped by after work on our first night there and we had a great dinner and good wine and lots of fun conversation.  She has very fond memories of her 18 months living in that little cottage and the time we got to spend together when Mo and I would be there.  We will miss the little cottage, but not enough to try to repair the nearly 100 year old plumbing and wiring.  A new house is a must. 

Our only camping trips this summer were the early trip to the coast in April, and the Reunion trip  in August.  We are both feeling really antsy to get somewhere!  I am pretty sure that “somewhere” will be a trip to the coast in November sometime after the closing has completed.  Ah, the ocean, fog, rain, none of it matters, being at the coast in November is always magical.  The crowds are gone, we can hole up in the MoHo, walk in the rain, hike down to the beach, eat fish and chips.  A trip to the coast is always healing for both of us. 

We only have one big exciting thing planned at the moment, and that is a trip south in late December, when we will travel with Adventure Caravans for 8 days immersed in the Pasadena Rose Parade festivities.  We have wanted to do that since forever, but never thought we could manage the traffic or the complexities.  Enter a “rally”, our first, and we can just let them handle the traffic and we get to participate in all the fun stuff like seeing the floats being built, seeing the advance horse show, and the advance band show, seeing the parade from the bleachers by the HGTV cameras.  I am beside myself excited about this one, and at the moment, I can smell the flowers.  I remember that smell from every single year of my growing up, when we went to the Rose Parade, and even some nights when I camped in a sleeping bag on Colorado Boulevard to get a good spot.

The best part is that a pair of our very most beloved friends are going to join us on the trip, but I’ll leave it up to them to tell you who.  And speaking of friends, how is it that I am so incredibly glad that Erin is back in the country after her long sojourn over the summer.  Always available by text or email, or now and then on Facebook, somehow it is just different when they are back in the states! 

More fun news is that daughter Melody has had a great run in her most recent play with the Linkville, “Jekyll and Hyde”, and loves her job at the Ross Ragland.

Grandson Xavier has the starring role in “Superman, the Musical”, which will be performed on the Ross Ragland stage in January.  Grandchild Axel bought a car and has worked for almost four years now.  No millennials living in our basements at the moment! A very responsible human being and I am proud.

Deanna and Keith at an Irish Pub on the Greek island of Santorini.

Daughter Deanna and her husband just returned from a great trip to Santorini, Greece, not just a cruise ship day, but a couple of weeks in a rather cute traditional home that looked a bit like an old cave. My son, John, in Missouri, seems to be doing better and is finally getting the medication that he needs to battle his own health issues. 

Great Grandson Orion, Matthew, Grandson Steven, Great Grandson Theron.

My grandson Steven now has his eldest son Matthew living with him in Northern Washington, a good thing.  And daughter Deborah’s son Matthew is now living close by near Grants Pass.  It was heartbreaking for Deborah that he was so far away in Colorado, and she is happy to have him close again.

Life does just keep bubbling along, doesn’t it.

Except when it doesn’t. My sweet mother-in-law decided that 93 years was enough for her and passed gently last week.  She lived a good and magnificent life, was loved fully by her son, her husband, both now gone, her grandchildren, her friends, and was a classy lady all the way.  I was so blessed to have known her and to have shared so many years with her.


“Grandma Gen” in her 90’s

June 10 Transitions

First, a warning.  This is another long, rather rambling catch-up conversation that I thought about posting only to my private Transitions blog.  It is very much a personal journal.  Like many RV bloggers, when we are basically stationary, I tend to avoid blogging.  The everyday stuff is just too mundane, and not related to the RV life and the MoHo Travels.  But there are others like me out there, and while readers come and go, I do have some that check in now and then and might wonder what we have been up to. I also know that when I haven’t heard from someone in a long time, and they do a catch-up post, I enjoy reading it, even if it isn’t travel related. The blogging world is changing, with many bloggers slipping into the ethers of cyberspace, never heard from again.  Some of us, though, have old connections that go way back more than a dozen years, and I do like hearing from these people, even if they have hung up their keys, or if they are in the non-snowbird portion of their lives.  So here you go.

I have been thinking about journaling for some time now, but the blog posts keep eluding me.  Part of the problem is that I often don’t have the computer with me and typing on the phone, no matter how nice it is to have that option, doesn’t lend itself to on-the-fly writing.  I type as fast as I think, so the typing doesn’t really interfere with my thought flow when I am using a full keyboard.  The last post I wrote, while we were traveling to the coast, was a mess.  I tried to use the voice feature on the phone.  That was an exercise in futility, and even my readers noticed that the “flow” wasn’t there as it usually is.

It doesn’t help that the days and weeks all seem to be running together, without a lot of markers along the way.  Too much of the same thing, whether it is work or play, makes Jane a dull whatever, as one of my friends said recently.  But, when nothing comes that seems to be of any import, I slip back into my old technique of starting right now, here in the moment.

At 5 in the late afternoon, the sun is still brilliant.  I am sitting at the table in the cottage, facing the big old double hung windows that face the east side of the property.  The huge old oaks are shifting about in the breeze.  Even when it is hot here in Grants Pass, the afternoon breezes are a welcome relief.  Today hasn’t been too terribly hot, though, with temps in the mid 70’s and moving clouds to block the sunlight now and then.  Wonderful.

This is the big old oak on the west side that will NOT have to be taken down for the new house.

For quite some time now we have been spending our weeks doing much the same thing.  Usually on Monday mornings we head for Rocky Point, with the mowers and trimmers and yard tools that are carried in the truck all the time.  We have the trailer in tow, mostly because we take it back to the apartments because the riding mower for Rocky Point and the walking mower for the apartments are at the repair shop.  So we haul the one walking mower back and forth, with the main riding mower residing in Grants Pass thank goodness, and return home each week, hoping for a call from the repair man.

Monday mornings are often a bit rough for me.  I get moody and irritable, with the constant job of packing and repacking in front of me.  I am trying to keep three sets of most things at each house, but that doesn’t work too well for fresh food.  Instead I have to pack up whatever we have that is fresh, plan whatever we need for Rocky Point where there are no stores nearby, and think about what I have to take to The Cottage that isn’t already there.  I have three notebooks that I try to keep current, and it works some of the time, but I still find myself knowing that I have two bottles of Hershey’s syrup and nope, there isn’t one here.  Here being whichever house I am in currently as I try to dish up ice cream.

Here is the “mound” we planted at the cottage two years ago and what it looks like now.  Stuff grows well in Grants Pass

The last couple of weeks, however, have been a bit easier.  I discovered the small, lightweight, plastic bin method of packing.  I can see everything, can keep the bins in the closet and add to them as needed, and I can lift them.  Dry food bin, Sue’s clothes bin, Mo’s clothes bin, the dog stuff bin, the computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, chargers, cords and all that stuff bin.  Yeah, that takes an entire bin.  Then fresh food into the ice chest, don’t forget the dog’s crate or the dog’s bed (we have forgotten both at one time or another), hook up the trailer to the truck and we are off.

The usual pattern is 2 or 3 days at Rocky Point, then a couple of days at Grants Pass.  Sometimes we manage more than a few days at a time at each home, and that is always nice.  Most of the time it depends on the mowing schedule.  Mowing and watering seem to be the drivers for wherever we need to go.

At Rocky Point we mow and pack stuff.  Most everything in the house is ready for the final move out, but the garage, shop, and shed are all in need of work.  We have hauled a trailer load to Grants Pass of miscellaneous tidbits every week since I don’t know when.  I think I might go to the calendar and try to count trailer loads.

At the Cottage, Mo has been working all day today on her wood/workshop, building more shelves for her nails and screws, her personal hardware store that keeps everything running smoothly.

We have stored “stuff” upstairs in the RV shed, to be unpacked eventually when the house is built.  We laughed a lot this morning about how much of that stuff is mine, but then I reminded her of how much of that other “stuff” is hers.  We definitely have different priorities.  I have a lot more keepsakes than she does, but then I had four kids and she had none.  I don’t have a lot of “stuff” per se, but I do have treasures, gifts, cards, photos, all the things of a lifetime.  All that “stuff” that so many full timers are so glad to let go of.  Not me.  I need a home base.

My life has been rather wild and chaotic, with losses over and over of my “stuff” back in the old days.  The few things I have managed to hold on to matter to me.  I do love, even once in awhile, taking out a box of cards, or a stash of journals or whatever, and remembering that yes, my life DOES have some continuity, it isn’t all just forgotten.

The other thing that makes writing hard is how my feelings flip flop.  When I am here, at the cottage in Grants Pass, I love it.  I love the open skies, the huge old oaks, the light.  I love being close to a sweet little town, with a traffic problem now and then, but nothing I can’t deal with by getting out early.  Last week I unpacked all my garden and cook books, and put them in the shelves in the RV shed that Mo set up for gardening.  I can’t quite explain how simply comforting it is to walk out there and see my books, lined up and ready to look at.  Treasure.  Sure, I can look anything up on the internet, to cook, or to grow, but still, the books feel like home to me.

I don’t have a lot of work to do here.  The Cottage is 720 square feet, not a lot to clean.  We really have decided that it is time to stop spending money on things to make it more comfortable, cleaner.  We will live with the patched floors, the old carpet in the kitchen, no need to put any more money and work into a place that will be seeing a bulldozer before next year.  Hopefully, at least.

My main job when we are here is moving hoses, watering, weeding, raking, trimming.  And cooking, although I don’t do that as extensively here as elsewhere because I don’t have an oven other than a small convection one, and the entire setup isn’t really conducive to trying to cook anything too fancy.

I actually have time to work on small quilt projects.  This time I brought my “All Gussied Up” rooster pattern and fabric to begin.  It is a complex applique project, with lots of tracing, cutting, choosing the right colors of fabric, and putting it all together.  It was pleasant to sit at the kitchen table and trace little numbered pieces.  I can see why some people enjoy the new coloring craze, mind numbing, and quieting.

I do love being here, a lot, and always seem to settle in to enjoy the feelings, the relaxation, and the dreams of what it will be like when the house is built.

Last week the builder came out with his partner and we decided on the location for the house.  The white marks on the grass mark porch pillars, and the edges of the walls.

See the shade of the oak tree?  That is where the west wall will be

I spend time outside just standing on the “porch”, looking at the view, enjoying how the west side oak will shade the west facing windows of the living room. We were so happy to find that the placement of the house will let us keep that west side oak.  It is big and old and leans nicely away from the house toward the west, so she stays.  Sometimes I walk around to where the bedroom windows will be, or my bay windowed soaking tub, to the beautiful breakfast room surrounded by windows. Light.  The one thing Rocky Point doesn’t have, even with our wonderful skylights.  We have light here and I love it.  Open sky, sunsets, morning light in the windows.

This will be the view from the back living porch. It is the sunniest spot for a future garden.

We moved the windmill from Rocky Point to the Cottage last month.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time on Pinterest, looking at granite, and paint colors, hardwood floors, and last week it was a great deal of time getting decisions made on window styles that will feel like Craftsman and yet not break our budget.  The plans had included some windows that I didn’t like at all, and Mo and I realized that we needed to get the window information to Dave before he gives her the final number.  I now know clearly the difference between a double-hung and a single-hung window, a casement window and cottage style.  Dave is the kind of builder that gives the number up front, an important part for us.  No surprises for the house unless we do changes or upgrades after the fact.  That final number is an important one.

Something that surprised us both was Dave’s choice of cement siding.  Cement?!?  It looks like cedar siding, but paints better and lasts longer.  He is a good builder, so we are trusting him on this.  He also recommended composite decking and metal railings, but we decided we still want real wood.  I want the house to feel like a “real” house and not a composite of crazy materials.  Yes, we will have vinyl windows, not wood, but that is a compromise that has to be made.  Wood windows would be way outside our budget.  But we will have the solid wood Craftsman door, no fiberglass for us!

Lots of time looking at windows on Pinterest.  I have no idea where this photo came from.  This isn’t a photo of how the house will look, just the windows.

Art Deco stained glass panels may be something for later, who knows, but probably not in the picture right away.  There are dreams, and then there is reality, and our Dream House will be somewhere between the two. The things that really matter to us we will have, and some things we will let go.  Hardwood floors for sure, no laminate, but we don’t have to have really fancy tilework in the bathrooms, just around the soaking tub.  It is all about balancing that ever present number, the budget.

The number that isn’t written in stone however, is the lot prep.  Dave says that there is no telling what we will be looking at with the power company and upgrading the current electric service.  We will need a new septic and drain field, which we knew, but the water system will be the killer.  We have a large 1750 gallon cistern that was installed last fall to store water from the 2.5 GPM well, so I have no trouble irrigating.  But the water is full of iron and worst of all, salts.  We can filter the iron, but not the salt, so it seems that we may be installing a “whole house” Reverse Osmosis unit, with another cistern to capture THAT water. We will know more about that plan when we get the water test numbers back this coming week.  The “Great 30” test covers everything and cost a whopping $230 bucks. With those numbers in hand, John Jacob, the water man, will have a better handle on just what extent of filtration we will need for the new house.

We knew about the low producing well when we bought the place, but the RO unit is a surprise, and will be a big chunk of change.  Still, it will be worth it to have ppm less then 1 of anything in our water, to protect the fixtures and the house, and not have to drill another well.  Water issues in the Rogue Valley are notorious, and getting to be more of a problem all the time with continued growth.  It may be Oregon, but it is Southern Oregon, and it is dry.

The other unknown is the demolition of the cottage.  There have to be tests for asbestos and lead, since the house was built in 1926, and we won’t know how much it will cost to take it down until those tests are completed.  Dave is working on all that right now, with plans to get back to us.  It seems as though getting septic approval can take at least two months, and electric even longer, so it is a good thing that we have no plans to actually start building until next season.  In the mean time, we can do a lot of the site prep work except for the demo.  We won’t start that until the Rocky Point sale is a sure thing.

The lawns at Rocky Point are looking great.  The house is very nearly completely hidden now by big trees.

Rocky Point went up for sale in early May.  Most houses in Rocky Point sell in 1 and sometimes 2 years.  Worst case scenario, we keep on as we have been and don’t start building until 2018.  Initially the goal was to be settled into snow free Grants Pass by 2020, so there is really no reason to get stressed, other than the fact that I am getting really tired of living in three houses!! And not having much play time!!

We will be leaving the little greenhouse behind.  Mo built it well.

The other thing we seem to be spending a lot of time on here is rig maintenance.  I think we are wearing out the pavement between our house and Bridge Street Auto.  We love the place, the people are great, do a good job, and are pretty good at communicating with us and diagnosing our needs. I highly recommend them if you are ever in need of RV or car work in Grants Pass. Of course, they also seem to be good at finding things we need to have done.

Mo got new brakes on the Tracker, I got new brakes and a fan clutch on the Dakota, and the MoHo had to go in a few times to try to fix a problem with the levelers.  That was the biggest problem, with all new solenoids, a rebuilt hydraulic pump, and finally after three trips down, new coach batteries and cables.  All is working well now. 

Of course, with all the heavy hauling we have been doing with the pickup, it seems that the transmission is on its way out.  Sigh.  140,000 miles of being a perfect truck does come with a price.  And Mo also has the timing belt to replace in the Lexus.  Sigh again.  I guess cars get old.  We have “used” our motorhome, and she has a good 90,000 miles under her belt without any real problems.  I guess it is just that time.  Needless to say, it feels like money is just rolling out the door much too quickly.

The flowers we leave behind at Rocky Point when all is said and done

And then there is Rocky Point.  After some initial activity, things seem to have slowed down on the showings and there isn’t much happening.  In the Rogue Valley, houses are going as fast as they are put on the market, as is the case in some parts of Klamath Falls.  But not at Rocky Point.  It is a special place, a lovely house, but unique, and in a unique area.  It will take some time.  But it is stressful, very stressful waiting.

We won’t start building the new house till Rocky Point is sold, and there isn’t a mortgage, but there are the utilities, the upkeep, the work keeping it looking nice to contend with.  We are getting a little bit tired, to say the least.  Hopefully something will happen before the summer is over.  I know so many people who have been through this waiting game, and then something does eventually happen.  Sooner or later the house will sell, as another blogger reminded us when writing up the ten things she wish she had known when going full time.

Yet when we head back home to the apartments, it is wonderful to walk in the door and again have all that other “stuff” that is there waiting.  Our comfy furniture, my luscious StressLess recliner, the 55 inch TV with all sorts of streaming stuff available, and not least of course, full unrestricted internet access!  Ahh….and my bed, my luscious bed and my quilts and art.  I am not sure if this really matters to Mo.  She is much better at just being wherever she is at the moment and being fine with it.  I’m the one whose mind rolls around in all these crazy places.

Love the yellow china rose and the old fashioned poppies at the apartments on Old Fort Road

Just to make matters even more confusing, in spite of the grumpy mornings on the way to Rocky Point, once I am there I appreciate how beautiful it is.  I love all the trees that Mo planted, love seeing them mature, love the gardens when they bloom, the forest, the gorgeous green grass, the fabulous water.  I love hearing the geese down on the lake, and when we lived there full time, I loved knowing we could pop the kayaks in the truck and be at the water in five minutes.  I miss that a lot, kayak time.

June and October are the most gorgeous months at Rocky Point.  When I was walking behind the mower the other day, I wondered why in the world we thought we ever had to leave.  Mo reminded me, “We want to no longer have to deal with the heavy snows”.  “It is really nice to have a town close by”. “ It is nice not to have all this work”.  It is time.  I don’t think once Mo has decided something that she ever has second thoughts.  She thinks it all the way through, makes the decision, and then follows through.  One step after the other, no regrets.  I try to be like that, but it seems that I have too many “feelings” all the time.  Memories of happy times, beautiful starry nights in the hot tub, long days on the water, snuggly fires at Christmas, my huge cookie baking counter!  Family space for holiday dinners and celebrations. 

In spite of all the back and forth, we have managed to have a few days of playtime.  We had a great Mother’s Day brunch with Family out at the newly refurbished Rocky Point Resort, just a stone’s throw from our home there.

We enjoyed the annual Taste of Klamath evening at the Ross Ragland in mid May, a long time tradition for us, and made even more fun now that my daughter Melody is employed there. 

We took an entire day while at Grants Pass and went kayaking on Lake Selmac, about 25 miles west of town and one of the few lakes to kayak at that elevation. 

With many miles of dirt road exploring, we finally found Spalding Mill Pond, with logging history dating back to the 30’s.  The original owners who moved here in the early 20th century are still in business in Grants Pass

We topped off the day with a wild exploration ride high into the mountains between Grants Pass and the coast, amazed at the incredible wild and rugged landscape of the Coast Range.

For the last few years, Mo and I have had wonderful play time, lots of great travels, both in the MoHo and otherwise, and have enjoyed that freedom.  Those days will come again.  We still have 8 states to add to the well used state map on the back of the MoHo.  We have a long trip planned for some future date taking in the far northeastern part of the country, and on to the Maritime Provinces.  I have a dream to spend another winter kayaking the spring runs in Florida.  We have a little plan to drive all the Scenic Highways and Byways in our own state, some of which we have traveled, but not all. 

It is all about the transition from living in snow country in Rocky Point, to living in a place where the maintenance is less and the freedom to travel is greater.  The day will come, it is just a process.  Living in the moment, appreciating the process and the transition, is the bigger challenge.  I’m working on it.