Thursday, December 19, 2013

Those Damn Chores

Music:  "I tawt I taw a puddy tat…."
Me:  "Sigh Me, stop harassing that bird!"

About 3 months before leaving on this trip I began the process of stopping my mail.  I called every catalog phone number and told them to remove me from their mail list.  All those solicitation letters that include return envelopes got a message from me (stuffed into the envelope) that I had moved and left no forwarding address. (If it was a charitable organization then I put a stamp on the envelope to save them the postage).

My bills were all converted to automatic pay from my bank account or set up to be paid on-line.  Except for the credit card, all other bills were the same amount every billing so I knew exactly what would be taken out of my account each month. I notified all of them to send bills and receipts through email only.  Also, all bank statements and mailings were stopped and converted to email only.

All my income was set up to be deposited directly into my bank account each month.  Truly the best bank on the planet is USAA.  They pay all ATM charges, no matter where I access the ATM.  But they are a bank for military families, both active and retired (Roger was in the Navy) so the second choice might be Wells Fargo or Bank of America just because they are everywhere.

Send out a card to all your friends and family telling them to write to you only via email.   If that doesn't narrow the mail down to nothing then have a friend or relative accumulate the mail, toss out the junk, mark what's left, 'hold for arrival', then forward to a post office along your way. Approximately two weeks prior to your ETA select a post office in a smaller town (where there will be only one post office) and notify your friend as to where to send the mail. (I used mostly relative's addresses)  The internet provides the addresses and phone numbers so call to be sure they provide the service to hold the mail.

I subscribe to Verizon @ $50 per month and supplement it with free wifi at Starbucks, McDonald's, Home Depot, Lowe's and public libraries. I have a gadget that will pick up TV signals and show them on my computer but I have only used it a couple of times and it frustrates me so much I just packed it away.  I can always get most TV programs through Hulu Plus or Netflix.

I share the cost of the phone with a friend and the monthly fee is minimal.  For a while I thought I didn't need it but--well, I needed to call a tow truck in Colorado; along with a dozen other things I couldn't do on the computer.

My insurance will not cover a doctor or dentist anywhere except Arizona.  They will cover a visit to the emergency room in another state but then I have to return to Arizona  if there is any further care required.  So, I have made it a policy to return home each winter for my yearly checkups.  And southern Arizona is not a bad place to be when the rest of the country is in the deep freeze.

I have mentioned this before but it is worth mentioning again...My supplemental health insurance offers the Silver Sneakers program, free of charge.  What I learned from my insurance agent is that the program is valid at just about every major health club and YMCA throughout the country.  I can use the equipment, pool, spa, and showers at any of them without doing anything more than showing that membership card above. WOW!  For the first time I can  actually say I love my insurance company!  It is a program for seniors and I do not know if there is anything like it for 'juniors'.  Before I found the program I researched whether I could get a national membership with the YMCA and was told, 'no', but one employee suggested I just go in to the desk and say I am interested in joining but want to check out the facilities first.  He said all the Y's would let me use their facilities free the first time.  I never resorted to the ruse but I can't say I wouldn't have in moments of desperation--and there were a few.

If you have seen Robin Williams flick, "RV" then you know the scene that is every RVers worst nightmare.  Yep, I had one of those.
I pulled into a Flying J truck stop  to dump the holding tanks.  I was surrounded by truckers, all of them within easy view of my upended backside as I struggled to fit the hose coupling to the tank's outlet pipe.  It was cold, the wind was blowing and there was a fine drizzle in the air.  But I had no choice.  I might be cold but the tanks were full almost to the point of overflowing. I had to dump.
The connection on my new hose (the one that the very condescending salesman at the RV supply store sneeringly informed me would couple to 'any' outlet, including mine) slipped right off and fell to the pavement the moment I opened the black tank valve.  Instantly,  there spewed the nastiest, foulest effluence all over the ground, my legs, and my shoes.
A nice trucker walked over and offered to help but I brushed him off--too utterly embarrassed to look him in the eye.  It took me two seconds to shut the valves down and reset the coupling, then I manually held it in place as I slowly opened the valve a second time.  Thankfully it held.  The minute the tanks were emptied I repacked the hoses, threw away my shoes, emptied a full bottle of hand sanitizer on my hands and feet, then rushed immediately into Flying J and purchased a shower.  When I came out of the station it was raining, hard, and with relief I noticed there was barely a sign left in the parking lot of my mishap.
NOTE:  Almost every town of any size has free dumps that can be found on the internet at

The same website also tells which dump stations have potable water.  I have, in a pinch, filled the water tank at a car wash.  There is usually a handy spigot and if a manager is around he/she might be generous.  I never drink water from my holding tank even though I put a tablespoon of chlorine bleach in the tank with each fill up.  I also put a few drops of bleach in my dishwater--just to be on the safe side.

Most larger RV parks and KOA parks carry propane.  I don't think I ever noticed propane stations anywhere before getting the RV; now I can see a propane sign 3 city blocks away.  I have to fill my tiny tank (5 gals) about every 10 days since I use propane for cooking and to operate the heater in the living area.  The station attendants will do the filling and all I have to do is turn the valve off, then back
on when they finish.

Pretty easy when compared to my house in Az.  I drive up to the vacuum at a car wash, roll up the rugs, stick Sigh Me in her 'kitty brig', drag the vacuum hose into the RV and get down to business.  I follow that with a trip to the laundromat where clothes and bedding are washed.  Within a few hours everything is spotless and then I will treat myself to a dinner at a local Mom & Pop.