December 6, 2013 – A recap of 2013

Holiday Greetings to all,

This has been a very exciting, but up and down year for Ned and Lorna. It all started almost a year ago when Ned mentioned to Lorna that he thought it was time to buy a house. We put our lot up for sale and decided to buy our neighbor’s house because we like the area and all our neighbors. The long and short of that story is our lot sold and we were down to the last week before leaving for the summer when the deal fell through. The people that bought our lot, who were friends from the RV Forum, came and offered to sell the lot back to us for what they paid for it. That was a most generous offer from good friends.

We left for Wisconsin and spent the entire summer putting together a deal with Clayton Homes to buy a manufactured home. We love those depreciating assets now that we own three of them. We left Milwaukee the middle of September with the understanding that the house would be delivered the second or third week in October. Well, so much for delivery dates because we arrived back at the lot the end of the third week of September and figured that we had at least three weeks to prepare the area for the house. At this point the fellow Ned had been working with at Clayton informed us the house would be delivered the middle of the first week of October.

Before it arrived we had about six cedars and a Live Oak to remove, a wood pile and rocks to move. Of course the weather was hot and humid. The day before the house came the company had four loads of rock delivered for the base and had it spread and leveled.

The house arrived in two pieces, the front half and the back half. Now this was something to watch as they hooked this mini caterpillar tractor to the back half, controlled by a joy-stick on a belt around the boss’s waist. He brought it up the drive and maneuvered it into place on the rock pad. Then the tractor was attached to the front half and he brought it up the drive to place it in front of the back half, but before he could finish getting it into place the back half had to be pulled forward. Once the front half was in place he moved the back half back. At this point we had to make sure the house was 15 feet from the lot line which is required by the rules of the sub-division. The house arrived mid- morning and all of this was finished by mid-afternoon. Then the crew laid down a sheet of heavy plastic as a vapor barrier and then they leveled the back half before they could quit for the day.

The next day the crew arrived to finish putting the house together. This involved bringing the front half to meet the back half, leveling it and marrying the two halves. The whole house sits on many concrete block pillars. Because we were putting the house on our RV pad the water and sewer were already there which saved us some expense. They did have to bring 200 amp electric service from the shed but they could use the existing trench which meant that they didn’t have to bring a rock saw in which saved us some more expense. Before they finished for the day the house was completely together and they had finished skirting it and painting the skirt. Both ends of the house were sided too. It was dark by the time that everyone left and we could enter the house using a ladder.

The next crew that arrived was two fellows that finished some of the marriage line because the house is all sheetrock, tape and texture. Another crew came and spent three days building the 10′ by 40′ deck on the front of the house and the 4′ x 4′ deck and steps on the back of the house. All in all it took about a week to finish the house before a couple came in and cleaned it. The house came with all of the appliances except the dishwasher that we bought locally and Ned and our neighbor installed.

The timing of the arrival of the house couldn’t have been better because after the outside work was finished it rained for the next week or two. Besides that the RV was paying us back for moving into the house because the refrigerator quit working and was leaking ammonia so we had to move into the house sooner than planned. Of course we had to get furniture since we had sold everything when we went full-time RVing 16-1/2 years ago. We were able to buy some used furniture from friends and other friends had a couch and computer desk they were donating to Hope House and gave to us instead. We did buy new beds and moved the washer and dryer from the shed to the house.

The past week Lorna has been selecting pictures from our travels to put into frames she picked up at our church bazaar and a few that we purchased. We are still looking for a desk for Ned and a comfortable chair that we can use in the bedroom or the livingroom. All in all we are very pleased with the house, but have noticed that we put on many more steps than in the RV. It was quite a change to go from about 350 sq. ft. to 1200 sq. ft.

Photos of the house installation and interior can be found here.

Oct. 27, 2013 – We’re in the house

We’re fully moved into the house.  We ordered beds about a week ago and were expecting them this past Thursday or yesterday, Saturday.  We were sleeping in the motorhome until they arrived.  However, on Thursday we were having frozen pizza for dinner and noticed that the pizzas weren’t fully frozen.  I checked the temperature of the freezer and it was 31° and climbing!  So we quickly emptied the freezer and refrigerator into the house refrigerator and turned off the motorhome fridge.  Friday morning we noticed nothing unusual and went to our usual stint at the local library.  We returned home just after noon as we were expecting Don and Mary Ann to arrive in the afternoon, which they did.  Friday night we again slept in the motorhome but on Saturday morning there was a distinct odor of ammonia.  We all know what that means, so we now had to move completely into the house as we weren’t sleeping there with that smell.  A call to the mattress company and we were told our mattresses were on back order.  Lorna told them of our emergency need so they delivered the bed frames and 2 loaner mattresses for us to use until ours come in.

Besides the refrigerator, on the trip south last month, it was quite hot and we started the generator to use the roof air conditioner.  After several minutes, still no power.  Apparently the transfer switch is stuck in the shore power position.  So we suffered in the heat for the rest of the trip.  Also, over the past month or so we’ve noticed our hot water wasn’t as hot as it used to be.  In fact, we can shower with no cold water mixed in at all.  Don’t know what’s causing that.

We think the motorhome just knew we were moving out and is shutting down one bit at a time.  The list of problems, large and small, is getting bigger every day.  Fortunately we have a good RV repair service not too far from us and now we can take the motorhome to him and leave it there to get fixed.

Don and Mary Ann have been very, very helpful in getting our stuff from the motorhome into the house and we’ve enjoyed their company these past few days, as always.

Here’s a couple of not too good photos of the inside:

Oct. 19, 2013 – Moving in

Frank and Barb left on Thursday and we’re starting to move furniture into the house.  Yesterday we ordered new beds and today we pick up the items we bought from friends near here.  We still have to furnish the office and order a television.  We still have to decide what we’re going to do about DirecTV, either stay with them or move to Dish.  It will depend on what kind of deal we can get from DirecTV on changing from an RV account to a residential installation.  We’ll post some inside pictures when we get some furniture in place.

RV Forum friends Don and Mary Ann are expected next Saturday for a visit.

Oct. 5, 2013 – The house is almost done

After the house was delivered on Wednesday, things starting happening really quickly.  Various crews have been working all week putting the two halves together, then putting the siding on the ends, hooking up the electric, water, and sewer and adding the skirting.  The inside painters finished up today and the house looks almost livable.  Still to be done are the front and rear decks, some inside trim on the marriage line, and hooking up the appliances.

Here’s what the front of the house looked like yesterday evening.

Front on Friday Evening

Oct. 2, 2013 – A house is coming

Yes, we have a house being delivered today.  We bought a Clayton Homes manufactured home to put on the lot.  It will cover up one of the RV sites but we still have the other available for storing our motorhome and for our friends to park on when visiting.

More to follow, with pictures.

June 1, 2013 – About the house

The plan to buy the neighbors house didn’t work out.  When the bank ordered appraisal came back, it wouldn’t support the needed loan so we had to cancel the offer.  Then Chuck and Marie, our new landlords, graciously offered to sell the lot back to us and we accepted.  Of course, they now have a standing invitation to stay at the lot whenever they desire, whether we’re there or not.  Good friends like these are rare and we cherish them.

May 13, 2013 – Still here in Spring Branch

We are in the final stages of closing on our loan for the house.  We also have had some company in the past month.  Don and Mary Ann were here for 5 nights in April and our good friend, Russ, just left this morning after a 3 night visit.  The new owners of the lot will be here either tomorrow or Wednesday.

We hope we can close in the next week, or we’ll have to do it from Milwaukee.  We’ve complied with all the little niggling details that the bank keeps throwing at us.  Why they couldn’t tell us all these things up front is beyond us, it would have saved a lot of time.

The plan is still to leave next week Wednesday, at the latest, and arrive in Milwaukee by June 1.