Art Mahan

Passing the RV Dream Torch

Pass the torch – to give responsibility to someone. –

In October 2011 we stepped out and began a dream journey of full-time living in an RV. We wanted to see the country and meet some interesting people. We got a chance to do a lot of both during the last 24 months.

When Art started to experience kidney failure we changed our plans. We chose to sell our truck and 5th wheel. We were a little discouraged because we purchased our RV with the idea we might travel for 10-15 years. We had ordered our rig with a few expensive options that the typical weekend camper would not need.  We had a few  inquires from prospective buyers but nothing serious…

…until we got a call from Dan and Carolyn from the Cincinnati area.

They wanted to come see it because of their own dream to start traveling in a couple of years. They had seen a 5th wheel with this same layout and knew it was what they wanted. We were in the process of putting the unit into a consignment agreement with an RV dealer to sell while Art dealt with his kidney transplant. So we viewed their interest in the RV as a gift from God.

After many efforts to come to an agreement and get the unit ready for sale…we were able to travel to Ohio and close the sale. They invited us out for dinner to celebrate Mary’s birthday after signing the papers. We had a great visit and told them that the dream is now officially passed to them. We want to follow their travels and hear about all the places they get to see and the interesting people they meet. The “Dream” torch has officially been passed.

We hope one day to see each other in a campground

Neighborhood Sights

Our neighborhood is a typical suburban bedroom community. At first blush it seems subdivisions flow from one right into the next…and goes on for miles. However we are lucky to have some nice natural areas near our house.

When our daughter, Anne, was here she went out a couple of times for her daily run. She took her phone with her and snapped a few pictures that got me thinking about the all the green spaces around our house.

Two blocks away we have a large green space that is a Big Wheel Park and playground for toddlers. Walk another block and you see the entrance to the Cheeney Creek Natural Area. It is a nice preserve that has a two small lakes and a couple of miles of trails.

Tonight drove about 2 miles to another nature center called Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve. It contains a number of trails through woods, swamp and open fields. It was a pleasant way to end the day.

Ikea Road Trip

IKEA is a Swedish company registered in the Netherlands that designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture (such as beds, chairs, and desks), appliances, and home accessories. As of January 2008, the company is the world’s largest furniture retailer. – Wikipedia

When you are in the market for a variety of furniture, it pays to consider making a run to an Ikea store. Living in the Indianapolis area our choices for Ikea are Canton, Michigan, Bolingbrook, Illinois or Cincinnati, Ohio. In short….it is a road trip.

We made arrangements to borrow Ben and Becky’s SUV and we were off to Cincinnati. We got there shortly after they opened and spent a couple hours searching for a variety of odds and ends. We bought a bookcase for our living room, curtain rods, hardware and curtains, a non-stick fry pan, coffee cups and a new French press.

We got everything home and Mary assembled the bookcase. She got it put together, leveled and attached to the wall. She also put a custom hole to route an electric cord to power some display lights and our digital picture frame.

Throw in a meal at a Bob Evans and it was a fun way to spend a day.

Labor Day Blowout

Typically the phrase “Labor Day Blowout” usually refers to a furniture sale or maybe an auto tent sale. However since we are completely moved into our new house. it was time for our version of a blow-out.

Anne and Russ came from Michigan with the 3 youngest grandchildren including the twins who are just about 10 months old. They are officially our first overnight visitors to our new home and they settled in just fine. We were reminded how much energy it takes to constantly feed and care for little children.

On Sunday all four of our kids along with their spouses and all the grandchildren were here. It was fun to see the older grandchildren playing with the younger ones. The cousins all got along just fine. We had a good meal for all to enjoy and then had a brief birthday celebration for Tim and Ryan by singing a rousing version of “Happy Birthday”.

Of course a get-together wouldn’t be complete without getting the boys to help with a project. So a couple of them installed a cool wooden table in Mary’s sewing room. We bought it on Craigslist and the boys mounted it onto the wall.

We wondered if our house would be big enough to handle the entire tribe and we’re glad to report that it passed the test just fine.

I Like to Move It

I Like to Move It…..The song is used in DreamWork’s Madagascar film franchise serving as its theme song, where different versions of the song are featured prominently in the films…Wikipedia

This song might be associated with the Madagascar movies but it was our theme song on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. We had moved most of the small stuff into our new house but the larger pieces required a truck big enough to haul them

We rented a high-top van from Enterprise and after work our sons Ben and Matt, along with daughter-in-law Becky, jumped into the whole process and in just a couple of trips everything was delivered.

Everyone pitched it to help and as beds were assembled, new couches unwrapped – the house started to look like someone actually lived there. After a few good hours of effort the workers were taken to a nearby Q’doba and fed for all their efforts. That night we got to sleep on our new bed.

Art felt kind of bad that he couldn’t help more, but it was good to see family members take care of the heavy lifting. It was odd realizing that this will probably be the last house we own….but we have learned to never say never.

Final Park of the RV

The 5th wheel is tentatively sold – we have been waiting for an A/C unit to be repaired that was under warranty. The repair has now been completed, so we traveled to the campground to do our final shutdown of the RV and get it ready for the new owners to come pick it up.

We flushed the tanks and stored the accessories then told the campground owner that we were ready for him to move it to storage. He brought his truck to hook it up but was a little uneasy about the clearance so he kicked in plan B.

The couple that bought our truck are still camped in the campground – but were gone for the weekend. The campground owner was able to get keys from them to borrow the truck in case needed to move our RV. So I got to fire up the old truck and hook it up to the 5th wheel for the final time. The owner moved it back into a storage lot.

We may be able to complete the deal this weekend. The buyers have purchased a nice Ford F350 to tow the RV and they are pouring a cement pad big enough to park it at their house. When they come to pick it up we have offered to show them how to operate the leveling system (unless Art is in the hospital for the transplant).

Our 2-year vacation is just about over.

Earthbound Purchases

Now that our 2-year flight of freedom is officially over….we are earthbound and tied to a single location. So what kind of purchases does one have to make if you are tied to a new house???

Lots of non-RV “stuff”.

Our lawn is not too big but we do need a lawn mower, weed eater, sprinkler and some garden hose. Of course we had to sign up for trash removal service and apparently “Ray’s” is the trash hauler of preference around here.

Then there is the inside. We shopped for a toilet plunger, some guest room pillows and a new trash can for the kitchen.

Of course in order to recover from the grief of selling his truck….Art bought a nice Samsung SmartTV and JBL sound system. Hopefully this will help him through the grieving process.

We do admit it feels just a little odd to once again begin to acquire material goods for our earthbound life.

Crazy Train

Sometimes you look at a period of your life and wonder how you plowed through all the things that went on. We just finished a stretch of crazy days that started August 6th. Art went to his scheduled visit with his nephrologist. The doctor decided it was time for dialysis to start. When – the next day of course. It would require a 3 day stay in the hospital to have a catheter placed in his shoulder/upper chest to allow dialysis to take place. We had already rented a van to move our belongings from the RV to our son’s house in Fishers. We planned to stay there until we took possession of our new house. Sooo . . .

August 7 – Mary had everything packed except the kitchen in preparation for the move. We picked up the van at the rental office and met Ben and Becky at the RV. We left for the hospital and Ben & Becky packed up the kitchen, loaded the van and took our belongings to Fishers. Ben then picked up a few pieces of purchased furniture after Mary texted him pictures of the receipts she had with her at the hospital. Art had the catheter placed and experienced his first dialysis session with no problems. Mary then met Ben at the van rental office to return the van and go back to Fishers.

August 8 – Art continued his stay in the hospital with another session of dialysis during which he experienced leg cramps and nausea from too much fluid being removed from his system too quickly. The nurses resolved the problem – but this experience was not so pleasant. Mary spent the morning cleaning at the RV then went to the hospital for the afternoon, then back to Fishers for the night.

August 9 – Another day just like the one before with one big exception – Art did not have any problems with the dialysis. Yea! Mary finished the cleaning at the RV then went to the hospital to wait for Art to be discharged.

August 11 – We met prospective buyers at the RV in the morning. They spent 3 hours with us looking at it. We received a call later that evening that they would send a purchase agreement contingent on an inspection and repair of one of the AC units. Woohoo!!

The week of August 12 th was the first week of regular dialysis scheduled for Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Monday and Wednesday went off without a hitch.

August 16th – We met the RV inspector and one of the buyers for our RV for a formal inspection. Art was experiencing some aches and pains but didn’t think much about it. Later that day he went to his dialysis appointment and near the end of the session his temperature started to climb dramatically – so they told him to go to the emergency room at the hospital. They had to admit him and went about doing a variety of tests and blood cultures to try to identify the infection.

August 17th and 18th – Art was in the critical care unit of the hospital mainly so they could hook him up to the appropriate monitoring devices. His fever “broke” on Sunday night. During that time we were also working with a certified RV repair person who is repairing one of the AC units on the RV which is still under warranty – one of the conditions of the sale of RV … so this is important.

August 19th – Art was moved to a new room with the general population and was told he might spend a couple more days. However, when the doctors huddled they decided he was OK to go home and he would receive some strong antibiotics during dialysis sessions and schedule the catheter to be replaced as an out-patient procedure. So he received dialysis in the hospital and then was released to go home.

August 21st – Regularly scheduled dialysis – no problems.

August 22nd – We did a walk-through of our new home before closing on Friday and then went to the hospital for the catheter replacement. As Art will describe the experience…the replacement procedure was not a good day – a lot of pain involved. After a few hours he was released and we went home.

August 23rd – Closed on the house and we were told the sellers would be out by Sunday evening. After the closing Art went to his scheduled dialysis (4 hours plus travel time).

August 24th – We received a call that the sellers were officially out of the house – a day early! – so we took some electronics and a few boxes to the new house and checked everything out.

August 25th – Tim, Bonnie, Matt, Melissa and Becky all pitched in and we took a few loads of boxes to the new house. Tim tied one of our mattresses and box springs to the roof of his jeep and hauled that too. So we felt like college students as we slept on the floor that night.

August 26th – a few more loads were completed and Mary is organizing the cabinets and storage. Art received a call asking if he could come in early for dialysis for the day so he left.

Later this week we are renting a high-top van to move the larger pieces of furniture. Hopefully we will stay healthy leading toward the anticipated transplant which looks like it will take place the first part of October. Also we hope to close on the RV within the next couple of weeks – one less thing to worry about.

“crazy” days