Well, after all the pomp and circumstance, Emily and I are finally off and running! Emily several days ahead of me due to the my many delays on having the solar system installed on the RV…which by the way I haven’t yet fully verified the operation of and for which I have some minor (and hopefully unfounded) concern. This is only my second post ever on our site, and with good reason. I have simply been overwhelmed with the efforts required to get to the point of “getting out of Dodge”, much less the actual leaving part! For one, finishing up the remaining work with my two clients. I decided to stop all work with one prior to Christmas, as most of that work required travel, and the travel time I simply wouldn’t have. The other I allowed to linger into January mainly to pay the cost of the solar install. Since the weather in Denver isn’t conducive for the installation work, and due to liability reasons since there was nowhere we could find to park inside that would allow us to work on it, the only option left was to find someone to install it for us. More on that later.
Emily and I made the trip to Ohio over the Christmas holiday, and is likely the last time for the foreseeable future. The crazy high travel cost coupled with the stress of everyone’s holiday schedule makes it unrealistic for future trips. Add in the crappy weather, and it only makes sense to travel there during a different season. Well, the trip was great for us, but a day or two after getting back, a “super-bug” took over my life. What at first seemed like a typical cold for me, turned into a three or four week bout with everything from sneezing fits and head congestion to the most painful sore throat and coughing fits I’ve ever experienced. For the first time I can remember, I was down for the count entirely. I canceled work for two weeks and didn’t leave the house. I was relegated to the recliner mainly, even at night when I slept better partially upright and in a place I wouldn’t keep waking Emily with congestive snoring and coughing fits. Maybe the universe simply had a different plan for me, and it was all about getting rest for the huge efforts already made coupled with the efforts yet to come.
During the process of postponing some clients, two of them were not to be seen. They had schedules that conflicted with mine, or they just simply flaked for other reasons. Nevertheless, I was now freed up to attack the real priority, getting set for the trip, move, or whatever you want to call it! As you may have read in Emily’s last post about “purging”, well most of it was about that. As you can imagine, but I will now personally attest to, that purging everything except a handful of boxes and what’s going with us is a major undertaking to say the least! More on that from my perspective later in comments to Emily’s post. Now, as I sit here in Lake Pleasant, Arizona, a few days ago seems like another lifetime already. Those last couple of weeks and days are merely a blur of constant movement, constant contact (with multitudes of people buying, receiving as donations, and us buying…yes acquiring things, too!), running non-stop, but through it all (and most importantly), Emily and I kept our wits about us and intentionally accepted that all be handled, and it was.
This last week was the most difficult for me. The main thing is I had intended to leave the same day as Emily…Jan 31st, the last day of our lease, our intended jumping off point. But alas, it was not to be, and even on the 31st I still had no idea from the RV Solar place when the work was going to be done. As has become the case with so many people these days (Emily and I and some folks we are close to call them, and ourselves, ”under-earners”), fear runs so rampant that in an effort to ensure their worthiness and to maintain “busy-ness”, people and companies make habits of overcommitting themselves to their own detriment. They/we end up having to continually overwork and ill-communicate their/our schedules, causing confusion, frustration, and disappointment. In this case, I found all three. Even so I refused to give into the typical societal paradigm of delivering threats to the company such as a bad Yelp review or some other BS. I knew that would only pit me against them and throw bad energy at the situation. I instead made physical trips to their shop and did whatever I could to help…providing numerous materials to keep the progress moving.
The bigger problem was that it had become apparent I would not be able to move right into the trailer as planned. Our lease was up, and I was effectively homeless…well not really! I negotiated another day or two in the condo we were renting, but carpet cleaners were coming Thursday morning, and I wanted to be the heck out of that place, in part because the landlord was there all day and so were his people readying the place for new tenants (not due until Feb 11th). Well, not sure why the lightbulb took so long to go on, but I realized at some point that I could move back into our vacant rental house in Denver, just 10 minutes away. This seemed like a great idea because Kitty lived there for five years and at least should be able to remember it since we only left there a year ago! My plan now was to move everything into the garage in the morning prior to the carpet cleaner’s arrival. Then I would move only what I needed to the other place (and Kitty) while leaving anything else in the garage to pick up when the trailer is ready.
That day the first thing I did was walk out the back door on my way to the garage. First step sent me down the stairs onto my butt, back, shoulders, and head, because as it turns out, there was a sheet of ice over the whole patio deck. After picking myself up and shaking my head, I knew there was no time to lose, so I just kept on with it, carrying what seemed like countless items across the ice to the garage, one by one by one by one…ugh. Just as I was finishing up and getting ready to plop Kitty into her carrier and get our deposit check from the landlord, WHAM, a migraine hit full on with all the blinding lights! Oh well, why not, right?! I’ve worked through them most times before, so what’s new? I grabbed the check and Kitty, and plopped down in the truck’s driver’s seat and camped long enough for the light show to subside. Then finally off to our vacant house to unload enough stuff for Kitty and for me to take a long afternoon nap!
~Kitty at our our vacant place on Meade St. She’s been a trooper, just sleeping through it all!
Well, that was Thursday, and I still had yet to get confirmation when the trailer was going to be done. In fact, I never really did know until it was actually done! When was it done? The short answer is Friday night, two hours after they normally close! So what did I do Thursday and Friday? The answer is, PLENTY! Who’d have thought I would have anything to do at that point, right? As it turns out, I got to burn nearly ¾ tank of gas running around in less than a 10 mile radius: Home Depot x 3 times, to various donation stores (more times than I could count), Best Buy x 3 times, to the RV Store, to the Solar Installer x 4 times, to the garage at our now previous residence, to the mattress recycling place, to the CD store with more than 100 cd’s of which after two hours they only purchased maybe five at a whopping $20 (so back to the donation center with the others!), the grocery store(s) for last minute items for me and for Kitty, and I’m sure several other places I can’t remember now.
Late Thursday afternoon I hear from the solar installer that the cables supplied for the panels aren’t long enough for how we decided to place them on the roof, and can I get some ordered and delivered overnight? So, I called this company and that company. Finally, one guy says he has some “at his house” and will grab them and try to make it to UPS before closing at 6pm. Said he would call once he got there to confirm payment and shipping. Never heard another word from him. Underearner? Sounds right! So, I made one last ditch effort by calling a local solar company I was introduced to by one of my clients. They are a husband and wife team, and they are die-hard cyclists! I left them an after-hours message. About 9:30, I get a text from them saying they have the cables on a job site, and Bart would be on site around 11am if I want to come get them. Score! Guess what, the job site was only 7 minutes away per Google Maps and on the way to the RV solar installer’s shop! Thanks universe!!!
So, next day in the midst of all the other running, I get to the job site and Bart custom builds the cables for me and I take off with them. This is of course after confirming with the installer what exactly he needed. I drop them off and head off for more running. At 4pm I get a text from the installer asking for another male connector, because he evidently didn’t know what he needed or messed something up. Well, I was only a couple of minutes from the job site where Bart was, and being Friday and knowing he would be pedaling home that day, I didn’t have high expectations. But again, the universe was on board. He was there loading his truck, and after telling him what I needed, he told me to just take the tools and parts, use what I need, and return them when I was done. As gracious as I was, I wasn’t gracious enough, because at that point, I just needed to see a trailer hitched to my truck’s bumper!
Back to the installer to drop off the tools and parts and it’s now 4:30, and they close at 5pm. After getting the cables on and finishing some things up inside, the installer Jason says the owner of the company will very soon be hounding him to leave for the day. I said, ok, let him say something. He’s the one who committed to having this done three days ago! Sure enough Dusty pokes his head into the trailer and starts asking questions. I reminded him of his commitment and told him I’d pay the overtime, as I was out of house and home and absolutely needed the trailer today. He agreed, and on went the work. He asked me not to stay in the work area and said I could leave to get a cup of coffee, that it would be “about another hour”. I was reticent to leave, as I was afraid they would bail on me, but I decided to return the tool bag to Bart’s truck in Friday rush hour traffic.
Now, by the time I get back, it was around 5:30. I walk up to the door…locked, wtf!!! I knocked on it lightly, no answer. Getting mad now, pounded on it, and no answer. Then, just as I’m about to come unglued, the other guy James opens it. Phew!!! Again, I check to see how it’s going, and they are just finishing things up inside, pending only the battery hook-up. At around 6:00pm, Jason asks me to go to NAPA Auto Parts to get the right size battery post connectors. Ok, another trip, but only about 5 minutes each way. I get the connectors, take them back, they hook it up, and voila, it works! Well, as far as this guy knows it works, because what do I know about it? So now we need to settle up, and of course the $1,200 install now costs $1715, hmmm.
Well, again I could be upset, and I am somewhat so because I was never advised of the additional costs. However, from the get-go I didn’t feel like the quote was ever realistic, and had an inkling the amount of time and work involved would exceed the quoted price. And even better, I was actually very pleased with the workmanship, which as Emily would assure you, is almost impossible to believe. Feeling like it is a fair deal, I advise the owner of my displeasure of the additional cost without my approval, but further remark of the quality of the work, my appreciation for staying late of a Friday to get it done, and also pay $100 tip that he claims will go to the workers (according to Jason, highly unlikely…should have given them the cash directly). Oh well, job well-done, time to move on with my life. I hook up and hightail it to the garage to begin loading.
After the long day on very little food and water, I accept an invitation from Jenelle, one of our great neighbors, to have some chicken and hatch chili (?) pizza and to re-hydrate. After some great conversation and farewells, I worked on loading the trailer until 10:30pm, then back to our vacant (except for Kitty) house to get some much needed sleep. At this late point in the blog and after much incessant chatter, I will just suffice it to say that the next day’s “successful launch” took me from 6:00am to 3:00pm, but once on the road, the shell of the rocket (truck) remained intact, as did the vehicle in tow, but only by a slim margin. More on that next…