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    Moving, Downsizing, New Phase

    By Derek | March 15, 2022

    Our 40 foot toy hauler.
    Our 40 foot toy hauler.

    In January, we contracted with an investor to sell our house. We knew it would take us a while to get completely out of the house, so we pushed the close date as far out as we could. They let us set it all the way out to March 11th.

    We bought a 5th wheel camper, a toy hauler, to downsize into. The long term plan is to buy land in the country, move the toy hauler to the land, and then build a house. Here’s a link to the floor plan of the RV.

    Everything went pretty well up until basically the last week. We spent a bunch of time organizing my office, and Jill’s office, deciding what we needed to keep and what we needed to get rid of.

    Previous to this week, we had our garage sale, and it was pretty successful, we were able to sell or give away a ton of stuff. One thing that really surprised me is the fact that no one wanted to buy any stuffed animals. Also, most of our furniture didn’t sell.

    We seriously underestimated how difficult downsizing from nearly 3,000 square feet to the toy hauler, which is about 360 square feet. This move has almost killed us. This past few weeks have probably been one of the most difficult trials of my life.

    I took a second week of PTO from work, so that we could complete the move, and close by Friday, March 11th. This past week, we were working on the house non-stop for 16-18 hours a day, including drive time between the old house, the RV, and storage. We’ve maybe been getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night. We’re all exhausted, and that includes our two nieces, who’s help has been invaluable during this time. They have both pitched in and helped so much I don’t think we’ll ever be able to repay them.

    Last Saturday, Mar 5th (I think) I slipped on the stairs while carrying something heavy with Ian’s help, and broke my toe. Then Monday, a good friend of ours tumbled end over end down the stairs after losing track of an old solid nightstand, which, naturally, landed on top of him, as well as the hand truck we were using. We took him to his choice of urgent care, and it turns out that he fractured his wrist, got bruised all over, sprained his elbow, the blade of the hand truck cut him on his shin, and he had rug burn in his face. This reminds me, I need to call and check in on him again.

    This week, we’ve had some extended family come, and take other large items that didn’t sell at the garage sale, but were still too nice to trash. Most of our furniture, our entertainment center, desks, our Purple mattress, etc. We don’t have room for any of that stuff in the RV, and we don’t want to pay to put it in storage, so we gave most of it away.

    One of the difficulties that we had was that we needed to replace the mattress in the RV, just so that we could begin staying in it. We got the RV set up around Feb 15th. We also did have some quality of life repairs done to the RV, by a great company who has been wonderful to work with.

    After doing a ton of research, we ordered a new RV King size Sleep Number mattress (our Purple mattress was only a Queen size) for the RV on the 27th of February, with planned delivery (to the store) on Monday, March 7th. Monday came and went without a phone call from the vendor, so on Tuesday morning, Jill called them to inquire about our new mattress. The truck hadn’t made it in, due to inclement weather. It was on the way, though. Call back tomorrow, they said, to give them time to receive the truck, and unload it. Wednesday, mid-afternoon, same, the truck just came in, and they’re unloading it, please call back in the morning. On Thursday, they finally had our mattress, and we were able to go pick it up, bring it to the camper, and set it up. (It’s wonderful, by the way).

    Meanwhile, running ourselves ragged emptying the house the entire week, we all got sick. It’s possible that someone who came over to help us brought something, but we’re not positive that it wasn’t just our bodies being run down that helped cause it. Jill was sick starting on Thursday, the 10th, and was worse on Friday. She pushed through it since we just had so much to do to finish.

    Our investor was able to allow us to move the closing date to Monday, Mar 14th, so that helped.

    It was Thursday night that our niece and her husband also brought their big truck to the house to move our chest freezer to their house, for now. We don’t have room for it in the RV, and we didn’t want to get rid of it, especially with so many shortages on electronics and what not we are experiencing right now in our world.

    Friday night, the 11th was our first night spent in the RV, and it was to be a very cold night. We tried running the furnace, but kept getting the propane smell in the house, and the propane alarm kept going off, so we aired out the RV, thrice, then finally left it off. Either it has a leak, or we just don’t understand how to run it. I spent a good amount of time going over the instructions, but…

    The good news is that the RV does have a small electric “fireplace” in it, and we were able to run that, so that it stayed around 60° inside, and was tolerable, if somewhat cold, with our blankets. Considering that it was 26° outside, that’s pretty decent.

    Our dogs aren’t sure what to make of the RV yet. With all the boxes and “stuff” crowded in here, there’s not a lot of room to move around, and even once we get everything put away (or more stuff given away) it’s still not a huge living space. Certainly not what they, and we, are used to.

    I’m pretty sure I had my first ever panic attack on Saturday. I started feeling woozy and had to sit down, I wasn’t able to really walk around, but I was still able to direct people on how and what to pack. When, after an hour or so it hadn’t subsided, Jill decided to take me to the ER. They checked me out, and saw that my blood pressure was very high, but by then it was starting to settle down. We got back to work.

    Late Saturday evening, Ian got sick. He started feeling run down, tired, and had a slight fever, so we left him at the RV with the dogs, so we could keep working. This actually worked out ok for us, since we didn’t feel like we wanted to leave the dogs alone without us after only one night in the camper.

    Saturday night we still had no heat in the RV, since we hadn’t had time to stop and think, much less have someone come check out the system. We do have a Mr. Buddy heater, so we found it and started to look for our propane to turn it on. Well, it turns out that all of our 1 pound propane tanks, that we’ve been slowly stockpiling since 2020’s Snowpocalypse were all somehow “missing”. We had three full cases (36) plus about 6 extra loose ones. One single canister had been used for a few hours, but the rest of them were brand new, and most of them were still sealed. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember touching or moving them. We originally thought that maybe someone who was helping us move, “appropriated” them. But that wasn’t it. Jill finally had time to check the camera footage Tuesday, and there’s me, moving them and packing them. So, yeah, with exhaustion and all I didn’t even remember touching them.

    What sucks is that we couldn’t find them when we needed them, we sure could have used them for these couple of past very cold nights, one of which dropped below freezing. I mean, that’s exactly why we bought the damn stuff in the first place.

    On Sunday, on one of our trips back to the RV, it was super hot inside. Ian had left the electric furnace on all day while we were gone working on the house, and had climbed into our bed, bundled up, and put on his jacket. He was way too hot, with over 105° fever, so we ran him to urgent care, and had him checked out. Turns out, he tested positive for Flu A. The doctor and I had a nice chat about how flu is starting to come back after being “gone” for two years. Of course, he mentioned that he’s seen more cases this year than what was typical, before the event.

    Again, we worked until about 2am trying to get moved, then finally collapsed and tried to sleep. I’ve been sleeping decently well, if not enough, but Jill hasn’t been sleeping well at all, due to the nagging cough she’s had since she got sick.

    On Monday morning I had to go back to work. I also called our RV repair guys, and they planned on coming out Tuesday afternoon, to either fix the propane issue, or show us how to run it.

    We’re still not done yet. On Monday, Jill made a trip, on her own, to try and get some more out, plus a bunch of stuff that didn’t sell at the garage sale, or wasn’t taken by the extended family, or trash. She was able to enlist some help from one of our niece’s older kids, who was on spring break, and get about 90% of it done, including a trip to the dump. I was feeling like crap, so when I got off work, I took a long nap. After I woke up, I would have joined her, but my car was parked at the old house, as it had been overheating.

    Jill got back to the RV about 8pm, and she brought food with her, so we ate, and then headed out to the old house, at about 9pm. We got a couple of blocks from the old house and she realized she had left her purse at the RV, so we had to turn around and go back for it, as it had the house keys which we were supposed to leave in the lockbox for the closing. It’s a minimum of 45 minutes each way, and we’re still supposed to “digitally close” by midnight.

    We finally got to the old house about 11pm, to finish getting the last little bit out, plus the remainder of the food in the fridge and freezer.

    We got it done and began the closing paperwork at about 11:30pm. We had to take and upload a bunch of pictures of the interior of the house, which took forever, because we no longer had our cable internet hooked up. We uploaded the last picture and clicked submit at 12:01am. They seemed ok with that, our digital closing was approved Tuesday morning.

    We decided that we’d take my car to the mechanic Monday night, rather than bring it all the way up to Canyon Lake, but we only got a couple of miles from the house before it started really overheating, so we had to call AAA to come tow it, then follow them over to the mechanic. Of course, we had to wait almost an hour for AAA to get there, and then still turn around and go home, which is about an hour from our mechanic shop.

    Once we got home, we still needed to unload the freezer and fridge food from the car, then put it all away. We got it in the house, then Jill worked to put it away, since I had to work Tuesday morning and it was already nearly 4am.

    I got up Tuesday morning when my alarm went off, but felt so poorly, with fever and chills, that I went ahead and called in sick to work, and went back to bed. When we finally got up around 1pm, I was feeling a bit better.

    We checked our email, found the closing documents that needed signed and got that taken care of through Notarize.com. We completed the sale of our house, finally.

    The RV repair guys showed up and determined that the propane tank that was selected for the heater (it’s switchable between two 40 pound tanks) didn’t have enough pressure to ignite the heater, which is why it wasn’t working. They swapped over to the other tank, and the heater came right on. So, they suggested we buy a third tank as a spare, and then swap out the empty and have it filled. While they were here, they also explained how to change the water heater between electric and propane, although we discovered that the power switch for it is actually broken and will need replaced. A task for another day.

    Finally, we were able to get showers and clean clothes after about a week in the same stuff. Man, I felt like I almost needed to burn my clothes. It’s amazing how much more human you feel after a good shower.

    Now all that’s left is to go through tons of boxes we just threw into the garage of the RV, and get organized for this new phase of our life.

    Here’s some photos of our adventure:

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