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Full-Timing: What about the kids?

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My husband and I have not decided to live in our coach "full-time" as of yet, but when our home sells we will be making the decision on what to do. I love our coach and we are presently living in it because of a job change in a different area away from where our home is located. We have discussed full-timing many times and tried to figure out what we SHOULD do. We should have good equity out of our home when it sells, but we are not sure we want to sink the most of it into a home where he is now working. Any insight would be appreciated.

Now, for the main reason for my writing. As I've said, we love our coach and don't mind living in it, but my problem is, What about the kids? We have two sons and their families, including small granddaughters who want to come to "grandma and grandpa's house."

This is a situation that pulls at our heartstrings. I know a lot of you have grandchildren and children that "still come home," so if you have started full-timing, what have you done to take care of "the kids coming home" and "other guests" who come to visit you periodically?

Thank you for any ideas.

Lovin' Life!

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Under General Discussion is an account of a trip we took with our grandson and family when he was just 4 years old.

Ryan and his cousin Spencer are now 9 and 8 years old and we are preparing to take them on a 12 day tour within about a day's drive of home. We have progressed from the grandparents that live in the "school bus" to the grandparents who do the neatest things with our grandchildren. Our oldest daughter and her husband put in a pad and utilities for us to stay at their house. We paid the cost, they gave us the space. Our grandson and granddaughter love to see us show up. We'll babysit for them about half the time in the motor home.

My son has a daughter and son. We visit them when we are in the neighborhood. My son is planning to move and build a home, we'll make him the same deal if he is interested. Both these children are in the St. Louis area. We also have a daughter in California with two girls, 5 and 2. We go west each year to visit them and stay for three weeks to a month. There are no campgrounds near them (20 miles is closest) but we go spend the day with the youngest and stay to fix dinner for mom and dad when they get home. At other times, we're on our own. As the children get older, we have dozens of places we would like to take them. Rather than driving across country, the older children can be put on an airplane by their parents and met at the airplane by grandpa and grandma. They can stay a week or a month, whatever they (or you) can tolerate.

I read an account in a book before we were going full time that mentioned having the grandchildren stay with them when they volunteered at a National Park. They ended up being in a drama presentation each day and learned a tremendous amount about history and acting. There are dozens of ways that we can relate to our families. We are currently in Denver taking care of my wife's mother who was in the hospital several weeks ago. She stays with my wife's youngest sister and her husband. They both work and couldn't take care of Mom without taking off work. So we are able to assist them and keep Mom at home through her recovery.

We helped Mom move from Lake Havasu to Denver when she was no longer able to drive. We parked next to her house, cleaned out the house, packed the moving van and took her to Denver in the motor home. We do the same for my mother. We stay several weeks in her driveway, she has her to-do list and I work my way through her list. I spend more time with my mother now than when I was living just 50 miles away.

We correspond with our children and grandchildren regularly by e-mail and occasionally send pictures. As the grandchildren have gotten older, we are able to talk to them on the telephone. There is no way we could be there for all of our family like we are now.

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TButler, THANK YOU for your answers to my question "What About the Kids". You gave me some insight and I really appreciate you taking the time to help out a "fellow RV-er" who is looking for an answer. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time "living life" and that's wonderful! I talked to someone else this week that sold everything and are now Full-time RVing and they said they wouldn't go back to the way it use to be. It took them a little time to come to grips with "getting rid of their possessions", and they said it was very emotional, but "their heart feels much lighter now". I guess only those who have made this choice would understand what this person said. They got me thinking about selling everything and I don't know if I am able to do that. Do you have any "take" on this? I'm really curious and seriously looking at all the possibilities and ideas. Thanks again!

LovinLife

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I've been on both sides of the coin since my parents were part-timers as they kept a summer home while they RVed the rest of the year (Sept-June). They did this from 1982-2000. I tell people that I had training wheels from them and am now following their tire-tracks; except hubby & I have been full-timers since Oct 2002.

We used to visit my parents for our vacation time and, if available, rented a unit/cabin in the campground they were at. Sometimes we'd get a kitchenette or even a Bed 'n Breakfast. Or sometimes squeezed in with them. It just depended on how many of us would "visit" them on the road and how long the visit would be. We've also spent a night or two with their camping friends & neighbors in their RV's; as after so many years all together, they often did this for each other.

Now, we pretty much squeeze family into our MH. Our son & his wife have visited us for about one week each year- especially when we are "away". They live in Ohio and enjoyed visiting us and the tourist spots of: Houston TX, Las Vegas, Mount Rushmore, Salt Lake City. Sometimes they'd get a hotel room for a night or two, mid-visit just to give us all a breather. We have summered in our hometown in NY. The hard part is trying to convice family in NY that we really like sleeping etc in our own bed in the MH and not their guest bedroom! It's taken a few years for them to understand we're not trying to be rude or ungrateful; just more comfortable in our own wheel estate.

We haven't been able to convice my stepson to allow his boys (ages 8 & 10) to visit us without him; but in the summer they all have been able to go camping along sidie of us-as they bought a small camper trailer for weekend outings.

As far as parting with things when you chose this lifestyle. Our MH is too full and I also have too much in storage- but it's in the kids' attics and basements. I didn't want to get rid of "everything" as someday, more than likely we'll not be RVing. The most important thing is to pack and have a list of what's in the box or container. Three copies- one with the box, one with you and one with one family member. As far as putting in "paid storage" you have to figure the value of what you will put there and the expense of the storage; or would it be better to just replace it and buy new in a few years? Most of our furniture was kept- and is in use in the kids' households-with the understanding we may want to move it if/when we ever settle down.

Since you also mentioned about selling your present home & decision of buying another near new job if weather isn't a factor (north with freezing winter pipes etc) could you RV long term in the area? and if it's close to your family is there a campground nearby that you could have an extended stay? I guess because we are from NY (Buffalo area) we want to leave in the winter. My parents summer place was in a summer community in WNY- now with many Park Models and a Storage Area for the RVs. And in Texas the Park Models are used for the winter months and people go north for the summer in their RVs- the opposite of a Snow Bird?

It's hard to decide and there are many RVers, books and Convention seminars with tons of advice and experience. It may take some trial and error but I'm sure you'll find what works best for you.

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On the question of what to do with the stuff you have collected over a lifetime of living in a foundation home, everyone has their own connections here that are difficult to part with. From our experience, we started by selling my motorcycle. Louise says she knew I was serious when I did that! We had furniture that was of some value and we gave our children first choice on that. Daughter number two was moving into an apartment at the time and took several of the furniture and electronics items (sterio and TV). We also had a few family heirlooms among the furniture. Those were passed along to specific children with their concurrence. So many of those items were not gone completely though we have no intention of ever asking for them back.

Then there is the whole category of collectibles. Both Louise and I had numerous collections of items from coffee mugs to fossils that we had assembled over the years. Once in a while I get a twinge for some of those items. We sold or donated most of those items. None were particularly valuable other than keepsake kinds of value. I would like to have had some of the fossils to give to my grandchildren though none are old enough to appreciate them yet. That collection was too heavy and too bulky to be storing in our daughters basement so it went. So now I look for rocks and fossils and transfer them directly to the grandchildren rather than keeping a collection on hand.

Common household items were easier to get rid of. When you think of what you paid for some of these things and what you get when you sell them it helps to keep the RV lighter. My days of consummate consumerism are over and I am glad that I'm not throwing my money away on stuff that will be worth pennies someday when I am finished with it. We sold everything we could at a series of garage sales at fire sale prices and gave away what we could not sell.

We had some nice artwork, our oldest daughter took some of those items and the rest we stored in her basement. They aren't heavy and can be stored in a compact space so we kept them. When we have to give up the motor home we'll have some artwork to decorate our new home with.

Louise loves to read. She always has some books with her but she doesn't collect books. She loves to use the book exchanges at parks to find new books to read. She has a bread maker, blender and several other cooking utensils. Louise likes to keep the house decorated when we are staying in one place for a while so she has small photographs and nick-knacks stored away in drawers. I made a small table that fits over the steering wheel to hold some of the things we like to display. Many of these things are small souvenirs of our travels. She has a lace tablecloth we purchased in Mexico and drapes it over the dash and steering wheel table to make things look nice.

As an amateur astronomer I had several telescopes. I rebuilt one of them to fit into the motor home, the other is compact in a suitcase style carry case and it fits under the bed. I get those out from time to time as we travel though not enough to justify hauling them everywhere. Still, I won't give them up. We have a friend who travels with her keyboard and sets it up to practice and play as they travel. We know another couple who travel with her sewing machine because she loves to sew. Those things that are of greatest importance you will find a way to keep and/or take with you.

We had a nice home gym which our oldest daughter took and uses. We purchased a Bowflex, it fits into one of our basement compartments. We get it out periodically to keep fit. It is out more often when we are in a location for an extended period of time.

We have items for our grandchildren when they come to visit. Coloring books from places we've visited, puzzles from National Parks we have visited, they love to play with tickets and our convention badges and ribbons. We got some native toys in Alaska. We keep some simple games they like to play. We can't keep them away from our dominoes and they love to play Mexican Bingo. We also have a collection of DVD's for them to watch. So plenty of rainy day stuff for the children.

Life is simpler knowing that there isn't room for anything more so now we shop for the essentials. We invest our money in the experience of living rather than in things.

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TButler, once again you have given me some "things to think about" and some great information! THANK YOU! I loved what you said at the very end of your reply. "We invest our money in the experience of living rather than in things." When I read that to my husband it got his attention. Later when discussing this subject he referred back to what you had said. Life isn't made up of "things"......it's "relationships" that count! We are enjoying more and more "living" in our coach. We don't have the "ultimate coach", but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and we are happy at this time with it. It is definitely one of the cleanest, most taken care of 1999 American Dream you will find! :rolleyes: My husband loves for it to "look good" and it does! If you have anymore to add please feel free to.

If there are any other comments fellow RVer's want to share I am happy to receive them. Thanks everyone for your help! We might get to meet sometime while traveling through life!

LovinLife!

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