Downsizing, Again

She said…

We spent the Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by loving family. We were safe and warm and well fed, so we had a lot to be thankful for. And yet I was a little sad. Our original plans had included Thanksgiving with my sister and her family in Ojai, California, but as of this writing, we have been back in Aztec for over a month, and are firmly re-entrenched in Shannon’s parents’ driveway.

The main reason we are back early is to help with Shannon’s Dad, who is recovering from a stroke. He is walking now, with assistance, and we are still working on transitions from sitting to standing, as well as the emotional lifestyle adjustment to needing help on a permanent basis.

We are also back early to make repairs on our toad, the victim of an unfortunate RV (ours) tail swing incident, and to the RV itself, which needs the living room slide repaired. The car repair is complete, and last week we took the RV to Albuquerque, more than 185 miles south. It was really good to be on the road again, even if only for one day, but we don’t know how long the repairs are going to take, so we will be living in a little Minnie Winnie for the duration. This has necessitated actually moving out of our home, emptying the fridge and freezer, guessing what of our clothing, kitchen and cooking tools, and office equipment we will need for the next week to a month while the repairs are being done. One of the great things about living this lifestyle is that everything we own is with us all the time, but it is one of the difficult things as well, when our home needs repairs.

So here we are, downsized again. I know that I am quite the crusader when it comes to getting rid of stuff. We have talked about going to a smaller rig, and I know that I could do with fewer clothes and less stuff in general, but although we are limited in carrying capacity by our gas engine, the stuff I’ve kept, I really like. We don’t have a TV in the Minnie, and that makes it a quiet haven from the “TV as background noise” and 80 degree inside temps in Shannon’s parents’ house, as well as the privacy of a remote bedroom. It is still critical that we stay close to help several times a day with transfers, and we had talked about moving into the house for the short term, so I am grateful to his mom and dad for loaning us the RV, a perfect compromise. But I’m not sure I could go this small. I miss my shower, my kitchen counters and my recliner, and yes, even the big screen TV!

My current kitchen. Who’d a thought an extra bottle of balsamic would be a luxury!

Last Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, a season of waiting, expectation and hope. I am finding that I am not very good at it, the waiting part, the sitting still part, the uncertainty part. While the news from Albuquerque is mostly good. . .three of our four repairs will be covered by our service contract and the fourth, the slide, is an adjustment and will only be around $300. We have taken advantage of this down time to get the oil changed and the front end aligned, so we can hit the road after Christmas in the best shape possible.

For all my whining about being homeless again, I need to take a moment to remember all of the people in Southern California who have been forced out of their homes. My sister and brother-in-law and their two cats have evacuated  their home in Ojai to stay with my nephew in Santa Barbara until the Thomas fire is contained, and now Carpenteria and Santa Barbara are within range of this inferno. These are all places where we spent time this fall, and it is heartbreaking to think of that beautiful scenery now charred and lifeless.

So we wait. We are hoping Shannon’s dad will continue to improve to a degree where we feel comfortable leaving after Christmas. That decision will be Shannon’s, and while I’m not sure that either one of us are suited in temperament or disposition to be long-term care-givers, (I have a whole new appreciation for people who perform this valuable service for loved ones,) we will stay until Shannon feels that he is ready to leave.

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