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A Place for Everything & Not Much Is In Its Place

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Full-Timing was an easy choice. It was the only choice if we wanted to enjoy winter sun in the South and summer's cool breezes in the North. We had burned our bridges behind us. There are no regrets, only vibrant memories of spending our days on the water, then touring on land to new horizons.

Not only did we have to consider our ages, but also there were unknowns. Then, at 88, how long would Cor be able to renew his driver's license? How long would my eyes hold out? Or, should I say "eye" as I'm down to one good one, and I am being tracked for a "freckle" on that one's retina.

Like the motorhome, the several boats we've owned are affectionately known as "Wasting Assets." One is rarely able to make a profit on either. It was necessary to assume the Dolphin we were admiring would probably be ours for life. We didn't feel we could start small and work our way up because of dropping trade-in values, and that was pre- the current state of affairs.

Planning our Get Away took upwards of three months. First order was figuring out exactly what would fill our meager space in our National RV Dolphin motorhome. Beginning at the back of the bus, bedding was needed. The unit had a perfectly presentable innerspring mattress. We gave that to Pete’s RV to use on another used rig. Why? We were very happy with our new 3†thick memory foam topper. This was suggested by my doctor, who informed me the hip pain I was experiencing each night was caused by pressure. Eureka! The topper was totally successful, so it must go with us. The combination of that and the original mattress was too thick to fit under the closet when we pulled in the slide.

We needed something thin to go under the king-sized topper. The built-in queen-sized platform is a ¾†plywood board; thick enough to hold us firmly, but more stuffing would make it truly comfortable. Thus began the wild goose chase. We checked out out futon mattresses, but found they are very thick these days. Finally, we remembered Willy D’s, a great discount furniture store in Colchester, VT. Willy told us he had discarded a mattress in the back of the store. It was lying in the snow waiting to be hauled away. We found the wild goose! Wielding my favorite carving knife, while Cor pulled the pillow-top away from the mattress, we hunched over in shin-deep snow and triumphantly performed the separation, all the while praying none of our “normal†friends spied this cannibalization.

The exercise was successful – almost. We did need a couple of blankets on top of the board. But that was a good place to carry the extras.

Incidentally, have a bad back? This is a great cure – flat but soft. Worth a try. No sagging.

Moving forward to the bath compartment, we found plenty of space to store most of our toiletries; soaps, toothpaste, prescriptions, first aid supplies, ad infinitum – much too much as we had belonged to Costco and bought ridiculous quantities of everything from Hydrogen Peroxide to Irish Spring soap. We’re learning to live like the French; go to the store often and buy only what you need…an admirable quality.

When it came to cookware, I did practice what I’d learned from living on boats – less is more. We found a nice camp set on sale at Eastern Mountain Sports – two pots, with two pans that doubled as lids. The removable handle is interchangeable. One caveat: when tipping a pan full of food, the handle tends to twist its way out of the bracket. Solution? I found a great 12†heavy teflon-lined frying pan at Goodwill for $2.50. At Page Hardware in Guilford, CT, I found a neat little navy-blue-with-white-speckles double boiler. So much for saving space! But a cook’s gotta have what she needs, right?

I regretted leaving my favorite china bakeware in storage, but between space and breakability, they had to stay.

One of the things we liked about the Dolphin was the microwave-convection/gas cooktop arrangement. It left us more drawer space, important when we’d be here full-time. I needed all my spices, custard cups for popovers, mini-chopper, egg slicer, whips and ice cream scoop. You know – essentially unessential, but When I Want Them, I Want Them.

I don’t like the oven. It is too easy to burn the top of anything you bake as the heat is so near the food. And I can’t broil. If I store the baking things in the oven, we have to remove them every time we just want to microwave a cup of water. That’s where the bed comes in. Maybe that counts as exercise.

Moving on, the dinette would be fine if we could find it. Right now, it’s beneath the printer, a bowl of fruit, last week’s mail, five or six road maps, a bottle of Nasonex, two boxes of Baker’s dark chocolate and the molds to cool them in.

Cor read the greater the percentage of cocoa in chocolate, the better it is for you. Put another way, enough cocoa and you can rationalize your daily fix. So, he now makes his own chocolate disks using Baker’s, Equal sugar substitute and a little bit of butter. Without the butter, it sticks to your teeth and palate, forcing you to make funny faces. I don’t know how long this will continue.

I must go sample his latest batch, so I’ll leave you for now - Arrivederci! I love Italian.

We named our first sailboat “Andiamo†- the dinghy was “Derci†and thus, endeth the lesson.

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