Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When I'm 64

The older I get the more I learn about myself.  For instance...I recently came to the discovery that I always have a song in my head.  ALWAYS.  Sometimes the same song stays in there all day or for a couple of days even, but there's always some kind of rockin going on in there.  (I use the term "rockin" lightly since I have caught myself mind-syncing the abc's and the itsy-bitsy spider least I have a kid and therefore an excuse.)

Anyway, the song de jour is "When I'm 64" by the Beatles.  Now, I'm not very good at remembering song lyrics on my own.  It's much easier to sing along than it is to sing alone and I have been known to make up my own words when I don't understand what they really are.  I won't embarrass myself here, but I will say I don't know this song very well and since I don't know it very well, only the parts I do know have been running through my mind.  Like: "da da da da, da da da da, da da da, da. da. da. da bottle of wine..."  and something about a valentine and of course "When I'm 64".   (In case you can't remember the words and it's bothering you the way it's bothering me now, I will put the lyrics at the bottom.)

What's cool about having THIS song stuck in my head is that it totally ties in with what's been going on in my mind for the last few days.  I've been thinking about my great grandma who I saw last Saturday.  She is 93 and still doing well.  She's obviously not a sharp as she used to be, but it is sooo amazing to have her around. I love seeing her, and I think it is quite an accomplishment to live long enough to see and know your great-GREAT grandchildren.  

{Grandma Rowen when she was young with some of her friends from beauty school.  She's in the middle.}

I wonder if there's anything she regrets or anything she would do differently.  I wonder if she had the chance if she would go back and change some of her habits.  I wonder if she would have made some different goals or worked harder to get to them if she knew what her entire life looked like in retrospect.  Mostly I don't wonder those things about her...she seems content and satisfied with all she's done.  She should be.

{Grandma Rowen now}

But what about when I'm 93 or "When I'm 64" like I've been wondering all morning.  I wonder how I'll feel.  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to have a conversation with your older self and ask her what she would do differently if she could so that you could work a little harder or change a couple of things and be regret-free?  I mean, I 'get' the whole "live without regrets" thing where you do your best and forgive yourself for the things you can't do.  That's one way to live regret-free.  But I really want to know, and since I can't have a conversation with my older self (besides being impossible it would be creeeeepy), I have to make stuff up and hope that I make the right decisions.

For example...there are a couple of ways for me to treat my body, and I am in a place right now where I feel all pumped up about making some goals.  But I want to make the right ones.  So what would my 64-year-old self say?  Is it weird?  I am honestly wondering this.  If I were to work hard and change a LOT of my habits and get to a good, healthy weight and learn how to stay there, will my 64-year-old self look back and say, "Man, I missed out on a lot of good stuff...shoulda just gone with it."  OR If I stay on the track I'm on and not worry about it too much except to be reasonable will my 64-year-old self kick her own behind and regret not having the body and the physical stamina she might have had. 

Everything has the same conversation going's and con's on each side.  I have a lot of thinking and contemplating and goal-setting to do.  I want to do what's most important and sometimes what seems like it's most important today won't be the most important when I'm 64.  That's what I don't want to mess up (too much) on.  There is so much to sort out.  So much to wonder about myself and who I want to be.  The beauty is that I can pretty much decide to be whoever I want tomorrow no matter how different that person is from me today.  I really believe that.  Man, I gotta go find a piece of paper.  Time for some serious goal-setting.

Before I forget - here are those lyrics.  SUCH a better song with words. :)

When I get older losing my hair,

Many years from now.

Will you still be sending me a valentine

Birthday greetings bottle of wine.

If I'd been out till quarter to three

Would you lock the door,

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,

And if you say the word,

I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse

When your lights have gone.

You can knit a sweater by the fireside

Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,

Who could ask for more.

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four.

Every summer we can rent a cottage,

In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear

We shall scrimp and save

Grandchildren on your knee

Vera, Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,

Stating point of view

Indicate precisely what you mean to say

Yours sincerely, wasting away

Give me your answer, fill in a form

Mine for evermore

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,

When I'm sixty-four. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Trailer's a beautiful thing

So far we really REALLY love living in our little trailer.  I can't tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that and really mean it.  :)  True it is small, and we sometimes end up {quite literally} stepping over each other, but we have everything we need and now that I think about it, everything we want.  I really can't think of anything I want that I don't have right now.  THAT, my friends, is a good place to be.

I have learned a thing or two in the last 2 months since we've been living in our fifth wheel that I would like to pass on...

Believe it or not, RV space is limited.  (hah!)  But really, it's much more limited than you think and I have had to adjust accordingly.  Stuff piles up really quickly.  I've had to learn to be more tidy than I've ever been just to keep my sanity (and lets be honest, some walking space on the floor). :)  I'm not sure if this is a "pro" or a "con" of RV living.  On the one hand everyone likes a clean place to live on the other hand it's a little bit annoying, BUT on the other hand it only takes like 5 seconds to clean up...that's the advantage of a small space.  Aaaand after further deliberation, I choose "pro".

Something Jeff learned by reading the owner's manual for this thing is that even when the RV is hooked up to water and sewer (which it is here at my parents it), you keep the tanks closed until they fill up, then empty them.  I would get into details here, but ew.  Suffice it to say, you don't want the solid stuff to stay behind, so you let the solids and the liquids build up and flush out together.  I feel like that was too detailed, but be honest if I hadn't said it, you'd still be wondering.  Anyway, this is where the odor control comes in and I have to say I'm pretty sure I've about mastered it.  I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it.  Seriously I'm pretty sure I am part bloodhound.  I can smell the tiniest little stink.  And I'm pregnant, so I'm like a super bloodhound.  If I can't smell it, it doesn't stink.  Wow, I have really digressed.  Back to odor control...the trick is to get some really good chemicals.  The best ones say that they control odor for 7 days.  Maybe, but they haven't for us.  I've found I have to put the required amount in right after we empty the tank, then add a couple more ounces a day or two after that.  Tip number two is to flush fast.  If you don't give it time to get out, the smell doesn't come out.  It hasn't been too big a deal, just once in a while it really reeks.  I'm hoping this isn't a problem at all after today - Jeff got a new vent cover for the tank vent that's supposed to pull all the stink right out.  The guy at the RV store said they work reallly well.  I'll be the judge of that.  The last thing with odor control is to make sure the dishes are always done.  You might not think so, but they are stinky too.  Oh - and just to be safe in the odor-control department, I have 3 (yes 3) wall flowers from Bath & Body Works.  One in the bathroom, one in the kitchen and for kicks, one in the living room.   Do you feel educated?  You're welcome. :)

Something you might be wondering about, but wouldn't ask because it would be weird...showering.  I am not a fast shower-taker, but not a slow one either.  I think my average shower time is about 15 minutes.  I am pleased (more than I can say) to be able to tell you that I have yet to run out of hot water.  What bliss.

Something I love about the trailer is all of the windows.  If I had it my way, I'd open the blinds first thing in the morning and not close them til after dark.  The only thing that stops me from doing that is that the windows let in a lot of heat from the sun, so I just open them on the shady side of the trailer.  Not as cool as having them all open, but still awesome.  It makes the trailer feel bigger, and all that natural light...there's just not anything better.  It's sort of like living outside, but we're inside.   The outside feels so close and if you ask me, that's where it ought to be...close.  We've had a few incredible storms this summer too, which were spectacular from our little living room.  Being in the trailer made it feel like we were in the middle of the storm, but warm and safe.  Love it.

This isn't really anything educational, just an observation and certainly a "con".  It's the laundry.  Right now I lug our hamper of laundry across the driveway and into my parents' house about once a week.  I wash it, lug it back and fold it.  It isn't be too bad, but if I had my druthers, we would have a washing machine and dryer in here.  In truth, there was a washer/dryer combo in here when we bought our RV, but it was beyond repair, so we took it to the dump.  Good news is we have a space and all the hook ups for one.  Someday we'll get a new one.  Until then, it is laundry lugging for me, which is okay for now...I mean across the driveway isn't bad.  I'm nervous for October when I'll be even more pregnant and will have to lug our clothes (and an 18 month old) across the RV park to the laundromat, and in November when we have a new baby who spits up and poops on everything and a daddy who is coaching wrestling and has an extra set of sweaty wrestling clothes from that every day.  Surely it won't break me, but if you see us in December and we're all in dirty clothes, don't judge. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Real Housewives

A few years ago, my brother Tucker and his wife lived close to us in Utah.  She was working, he was going to school to be a pilot and worked part time at an airport "park and ride".  His job was to provide valet parking and drive the shuttle to and from the airport terminal.  The joke we always passed around was that he was a "professional driver".  After all, he DID drive for a living.  Okay, so hold that ties in.

{My brother, Tucker, with a fellow professional driver in Panama City.}

There I was folding my laundry and watching some show on tv just to pass the time when a commercial came on for the "Real Housewives of ..."  who knows where.  Two smartly-dressed women (who I'm sure have their charming moments) were at lunch together and one of them was in the process of telling the other "I called you garbage because that what you are...garbage."  ew.

I've seen the listings for the "Real Housewives" shows before but have never ever watched one.  Don't know why I ever would.  The whole concept is so unappealing to me.  A bunch of spoiled, bratty women getting into fights about petty things.  Sounds like high school in Beverley Hills.  No thank you.  Plus, am I the only one who thinks it's about the most ironic thing that it's called the "REAL" housewives??  Really?  Can my brother really call himself a professional driver?  Not if he wants anyone to take him seriously.  If I were to re-name the show I think I would call it the "Fake Housewives" at the very least or "Pretend Housewives" or "Women Who Happened to be Married to Men Who Provide For Them, but Who Don't Act Like Wives at All, Not to Mention 'Housewives'".

I don't know, maybe things are different in New Jersey and New York and Washington D.C....I seriously doubt it.

I don't know who I feel worse for, the women who embarrass themselves on the show (even the commercials are embarrassing), their husbands, their families or any single man or woman who watches the show and thinks that's what "real" housewives are like. It is mostly to those who might be confused that I would like to direct this post.  That is most certainly NOT what real housewives are like.  Trust me, I know lots of them.

Being a housewife is so much more than staying at home because your husband can support you.  My mother-in-law works 10-12 hours a day outside of her home to support her family and is one thousand times the "housewife" of any "Real Housewife of New Jersey".

{Dan and LaNae...Jeff's -incredible- mom and dad}

I mean I guess it doesn't take much to be able to call yourself a wife.  A couple of court documents can do that, but really.  To me being a wife is much more, being a housewife is much MUCH more.  The real housewives I know are good women who encourage and lift the people around them, they are nurturing to their husbands and to their children, they honor their families, themselves and their homes, they are selfless and kind and well...maybe some examples would serve us well here.

I know a woman whose husband lost his job and his means of supporting their family.  He was out of a job for almost a year.  He searched and searched for work and couldn't find any.  She was frustrated, but understood that he was frustrated.  She held her tongue when she wanted to scream.  She didn't cry and throw fits to him.  She cried in the shower when she couldn't hold it in anymore.  She took walks to re-group before saying anything she might regret.  She kissed him and smiled at him and loved him when she didn't understand how he could relax at home instead of continuing his search.  She let him work through it.  She trusted that he would.  She knew that what was hard for her to go through was a million times worse for him.  She dressed her 2 children in the most adorable used clothing she could find, instead of the new clothes she was used to buying for them.  She made the best of it all, and I don't think her husband will ever EVER doubt that she loves, supports and trusts him.  I can look up to a woman like that.

I know a woman who left her job, her parents and siblings, and the life she knew to support her husband in a new job across the country.  A job that would last a mere 2 years.  Her teenagers argued, the younger ones said it wasn't fair.  She did it anyway.  She followed him lovingly and trustingly and showed her children (and more importantly her husband) that while dad could support the family financially from across the country, he could not do all the other important things dads and husbands do every day.  They needed to be together.  He will always remember that, and will always love her for standing by him.  I love her for that.

My dad's mom, Grandma Boyd, is gone now, but she is a woman who always had hot breakfast on the table for her husband and children...every morning at 6am they gathered to eat together.  Dinner was at 6pm when she had the table set with lovely dishes and delicious food.  She honored her family by serving them and making them her priority.  Thinking outwardly instead of inwardly...what a godly attribute.

My mom's mom always vacuumed the house and put on lipstick before my grandpa got home from work.  Grandpa's retired now, but grandma still does all she can to look her very best for him.  Talk about honoring her husband and showing him that after 55 years of marriage she still loves him and wants to please him.

I have an aunt who nursed her husband and stood by his side after a brain injury left him angry, mean, cold and depressed.  She loved him when she didn't recognize him, she forgave him when he treated her like he she didn't matter.  She looked past his actions to the sickness that robbed both of them of their beautiful life together.  She loved him anyway.  One day at a time for 5 years she loved him, until his recovery was complete.  Their marriage has now bloomed and blossomed like nothing you've ever seen.  It is breath-takingly beautiful.

My mom, knowing that my dad feels best when things are clean and tidy makes sure everything is in order before he gets home from work.  My dad also likes to eat dinner at 5, when he gets home, so guess what?  Dinner is always ready at 5.

These, to me, are real houswives and now that I've gone back and re-read what I wrote, I didn't even give many examples about a cleaning schedule or meal planning or any of those other things.  So the point there is forget about real 'house' me, you start by being a real wife, then work on the rest of the duties a housewife takes care of - caring for her home, loving and teaching her children, honoring her family, taking care of herself so she can take care of all those things.

I guess in the end, I feel like the "Real Housewives of wherever" are fakes (or at least they are portrayed that way in the commercials.  Like I said - never watched the show).  And I feel like anyone who watches that show and ones like it and believe that REAL housewives are like that are being cheated and tricked into thinking that housewives are rude and petty and care more about taking care of themselves than they do about taking care of anyone else.  They're not and they don't.

Call me old-fashioned.  I might even be flattered if you did.  I really don't believe any kind of happiness comes from acting like a "Real Housewife of wherever".  June Cleaver is closer to the secret to a happy, blissful life.  I know I'm not the only one who believes the way I do.  I've met too many women who believe like I do.  Too bad they're not the ones on tv to prove it to least not anymore.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Reader Question: Income

You mentioned how much the trip is going to cost to get started, but what about along the way? Do you have money saved up or do you have some source of income? (this question is from my husband) 
-Bonnie Wright (and husband...obviously)

So....where do I start?  The short answer is no, we don't have money saved up for this - we will be working on the road.  The long answer?  Here it goes....

We have some savings, but it is only for emergencies, not for living on.  Right now, Jeff works full time (well...super full time - 12 hours a day/7 days a week) helping farmers.  He also works as a book-keeper for a mortgage company in Utah, which he does remotely from here.  He's been helping them with their books for about 3 years now and it works out well. 

Back to the dough - Jeff will work with the farmers until the first week of October, when we will go back to Utah to a) get ready for this baby to come - she's due October 26th and b) get ready for the wrestling season to start.  Jeff is the head coach for a high school wrestling team down there.  The season doesn't start until November, but he's got to recruit and get organized before hand.  He will have a little bit of income from coaching and teaching the wrestling class.  And when I say a little bit, I mean he's mostly a volunteer like all other high school coaches. :) 

Jeff is also a network-marketer.  His focus is teaching people how to recruit without alienating their friends and family.  He is awesome at what he does.  Check out his blog -

Side-note --  my husband is honestly superman.  Now you know part of the reason I believe look: 

I am seriously suspicious.  But that's a post for another day.  What was I even talking about?  Oh ya.

I also work very part time for an organization called Brave Girls Club (  Among other things, they do retreats for women called "Brave Girl Camp". I am the camp manager, and will be able to do most of what I do from anywhere.

Wow - does that answer your question?  After all that I guess the real answer is we'll be working on the road and we'll do whatever it takes to get where we want to go (both physically and finacially). :)

New Look, Same {fascinating} Posts

I almost feel like I should follow up my title with "Plus 25% more free" or something.  That just wouldn't make sense.

I am SUPER excited about the new look of the blog.  Do you like it?  It will be changing more as I tweak it over the next few days, but it is much closer than it was!  Don't you love the header?  My sweet friend (huh...doesn't seem like a strong enough word...cousin?  soul-sister?) anyway, her name is Jeri Lynn and she designed it.  She does such a great job!  If you ever need stuff designed, give her a to her website -  Don't forget to scroll down to the footer....she did that too.  I feel so official like I should do a give-away or something.  Hmm...stay tuned for that.

Like I said there is more tweaking to be done.  Hope you like it!  (But if you don't, I still do and let's be honest that's what really matters.) ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The truck.....we're official!

Since Jeff and I had already been planning to stay at my mom and dad's house all summer and since we already had sweet hook ups and no reason to take the trailer anywhere, we figured we'd save up all summer and buy a truck in September right before we planned to move.  BUT I think we were both feeling a little anxious about our plan.  We would be limited in our choices and would have to buy whatever was for sale at the time and would work best.  THEN we would still have to figure some things out and sell our car.  I don't know about Jeff, but I was feeling nervous about it.  Maybe that's what led me to start casually looking around craigslist for a truck.  I don't think I thought we'd be able to get one any sooner, but knowing what was out there and how much it was going to cost made me feel better.  I found lots of trucks I thought would work and started emailing them to Jeff.  One in particular stood out to him and he was anxious to drive it.  This one:

It was perfect and Jeff fell in love.  It was priced WAY under what we thought we would spend.  We came home, did our research, took the truck to a mechanic the next day for an inspection, inspection was great.  Jeff offered $4500 for it - it was listed at $5750.  Bryce (the truck man) settled with us at $4700, which is what he said some other guy had offered him before, but he didn't like him so he didn't take it.  Jeff is really easy to like and is genuinely interested in other people.  I think that's why we got a deal.  Plus we have a cute kid and I'm hugely pregnant, which Bryce said he'd mentioned to his wife when he told her how low he was going to go for us. :)

Jeff could tell you the real details, but I'll tell you what I know.  The truck is a Chevy 3500 with a 454 engine (that means big and it can tow a lot). :)  It's already hooked up and ready for a 5th wheel hitch with trailer brakes and everything.  {Bonus.}  Now for the best part - 4 doors!  No car-seat-hoisting for me, which as you know I am wholly against.  It's super long and has the turning radius of a small tank, but other than that it is perfect.  It's a '95 with 105,000 miles.  That's an average of 7,000 miles per year since it was built...not bad.

Anyway, we're super excited to be set and ready to go when the time comes!  Also - if you're in the market for a '98 Infiniti QX4, we have one to get rid of. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summertime and the livin's easy...

We have had a pretty magical summer here in Idaho.  I guess thinking about it there hasn't been anything too spectacular that's happened.  We haven't done anything extravagant or out of the ordinary, but it has been incredible.  We've spent summer days playing outside, throwing rocks in the irrigation ditch (our "water front"), bug-watching, jumping on the trampoline, swimming, hanging out with my mom and the twins (Nana and the girls to Jackson) and everything in between.  Summer nights have been spent hanging out with family, having barbecues, more swimming, family get-togethers at Grandma's house and sooo much more.  We've had a blast.  I will treasure this summer for the rest of my life.

Hmm, now I feel like I'm getting mushy, and that's not what I came here to do.  Oh ya - one thing I wanted to make sure to show you (since my sweet friend, Sally, requested it) is what it's like to celebrate holidays in the ol' RV.  We've had just one holiday here so far - 4th of July - which happens to be my FAVORITE holiday of the whole year.  My parents host a big party/family reunion at their house every 4th, so we got to be right here in the middle of it.  I took lots of video so you could see exactly what it was like.  And so without further ado...