The dream was born right after Chuck and I broke up but I was still living with him in Grand Haven, MI. Thankfully we remained friends. After all we’ve known each other since I was 14 and he was 19.
I was trying to figure out what the kids and I were going to do and somehow the idea of living in a RV hit me. I researched it and found it is actually a common lifestyle for many people who absolutely love it. It’s called full-timing. May full-timers do what is called work-camping. Work-camping is where they get an on-site temporary job at the RV camping place and the parking, water, electricity and dump are provided free to them. Some places even give their work-campers discount tickets to attractions or sometimes even free tickets. There are web-sites and magazines that provide much of the information as to where the jobs are and contacts. I did a lot of digging and learned it was a very family friendly environment and the RV folks look out for each other. A lot of families that are full-timing also either home-school or unschool. Unschooling is quite popular because it just makes sense to teach your children using the area and history of the place you are currently visiting.
All this sounded like a dream, but a possible dream, After all I was raised from the age or ten to nineteen on a sail boat. As far as finances, I would just use my rent money to make payments. I was a bit concerned if I could get a loan because I wasn’t sure how my credit score was.
Preston, my ex who lived in Stevens Point, WI. Came to visit the kids one day and had an offer for me. You see, we had tried living near him for three months prior to living in Grand Haven. However, at that time Preston was rarely any help and made no effort to find fun or interesting things for the kids to do other then sit in his apartment. So, when Preston came to visit this time he told me he had gone through a class and figured some things out and had a change of heart. He wanted to be able to spend more time with his kids. He offered to pay for our move back to Wisconsin and help us out till we got into our own place. He also slipped in that if I tried to do the RV thing he would stop me because it was very dangerous.
Part of this appealed to me because I did want to get a place for the kids and I and I could really use the help. But it also angered me that he would assume the RV dream was dangerous with out doing any research. And that he didn’t care that the kids wanted to do it and they were at a perfect age for such an adventure.
Still, it was time to get our own place. I accepted his offer but with out much expectation. Wither he actually changed or not we had all become very independent of him, including the kids who used to want a “daddy”. So we would be fine with or with out him and had no real expectations from him like we did the last time.
We’ve been living in Plover now, next to Stevens Point, for about 10 months now. A few months back I reopened the RV dream. None of us are happy here and we all miss the dream we once had. I also figured it would be better even for Preston if the kids and I full-timed in an RV cause then we would be tethered to this place for medical and dental appointments and such and come back here often. If we didn’t full-time then we would just leave the state which would mean he would have much further to travel to see them.
As far as his time he spends with the kids now; he takes the boys to Taekwondo at the YMCA two nights a week. Well, mostly any way. Now that it’s summer and he has only one online course so he hasn’t missed any Taekwondo days. When it’s full time school, which he will be in next school semester for another year, he often can’t make certain days and asks me to take them When he does take them I assume they have time together in the car ride there but once there he goes off and sits and studies while they practice. He used to leave the room and go to the entrance to study but Levi was having too many Autism issues so he realized he had to be in the same room with them the whole time.
When we first got here and for quite a while he would take the boys to his grandparents on a Saturday every other weekend or so. The girls went with him the first time or two but there was nothing for them to do there, or so they say, so they have been staying home ever since. The girls along with the boys went to his two bedroom apartment a time or three for dinner but again they decided they didn’t want to go back. The boys didn’t either but I made them go. At Preston’s apartment he has a big screen TV that is hooked up to his computer where he either watched Discovery or the History channel or he does his homework. Sometimes he will put a move he has pre-rocorded on his computer for them. After a long time he finally got some cars and a track loop thing for the boys to play with in the kids bedroom. For beds he has a top bunk bed with a mattress on the floor under it so there are two beds for when the kids stay over. The good thing is Kyle will eat his food, sometimes, and it’s a safe environment.
As far as the girls, they are old enough to stay home and so I let them and he doesn’t even try to get them to come with him. But he has taken on a pouting attitude that since they don’t want to be with him he doesn’t want to help them with the computer and things when they need it. He fails to understand that he is often not a good conversationalist and they are teens (13 and 15) which often are not good conversationalist as well so it’s not always that they don’t want to be with him but they just don’t want to be board and in an awkward feeling situation. Plus there is an aspergers element that also makes things difficult between them. As far as the boys, Levi wants to stay home and Kyle sometimes like going to the grandparents to play outside and with the dogs and cats. He is the one who shows the most affection for his dad. Kyle is a “mans man” and very sociable and loves to make friends with any man he comes in contact with. So, he appreciates and sees his dad on a different level than the other three. However he more recently started suggesting the men who were fun like his swimming instructor and other very young men be my boyfriend or husband. I realize that he would love to have a guy in his life who would rough house with him. Also, the kids used to not like going with their dad because he was much stricter and they never new when he was going to get mad at them for something they didn’t know better about. Thankfully I believe he has relaxed more.
Back to the RV dream. So I started researching again. I stayed in touch with Pat from Kings Campers in Wausau and kept a check on what used RV’s they had coming in. The kids and I took a few RV tours to educate ourselves, which they loved. At one point Pat told us about a very affordable RV that was in the shop to keep an eye out for. I kept in touch with him about it and one day saw on their web site that it was finally on the lot. So two of the kids and I headed to Wausau to see it. When we got to the RV another couple and their kids had already been through it. Their sales man told us that they had called in and placed a hold on it. This really ticked me off since Pat had never mentioned I could do this. I brought it up to Pat who suddenly go that “I just made a big mistake” look on his face. I realized that he must have never actually taken me seriously. Bad sales move! He promised to keep an eye on it and keep me posted in case they didn’t actually buy it, but they did.
I knew Preston was planning on doing something similar to foreclosure on the house we owned in Camden, Arkansas. I gave the house to him on the divorce decree but the bank still considers it both of ours so anything he does with it affects my credit. I figured I should get a move on applying for a loan for the RV before he completely destroyed my credit. At one time he said what he was doing would’nt affect my credit but I had a hard time believing that. I figured I had a little time left so I decided first to see what my credit ratting was on my own and get an idea. It was just barley above 500. Preston had not paid the last two months of mortgage and I had a few credit collection agencies on there. I knew of a few but there were some I didn’t even know about from when I had gone to the hospital way back when I lived in Kalamazoo. I learned that there was no possible way the RV company would finance me. I talked to my bank and my score was below anything they could do for me as well. The lady at the bank referred me to a credit union that often helps folks in my situation with loans. I was glad I visited them even though they couldn’t give me a loan either because the lady I talked to took the time to go over my credit report with me. She let me know that the thing that took my credit rating down so low was the unpaid mortgage. She and others suggest I offer to help Preston make the payments and she suggest we notarize a deal saying when the house sold he would pay me back.
I appreciated her ideas, but I couldn’t afford to help him in that way, but I did think of another way to help him. As much as the kids and I hate the idea of living in Camden, Ar. again we could do it temporarily just to help sell the house. Up until he decided to do a deed and lieu he had Caldwell Realtors helping him either rent or sell the house. The house was going for just under what he owed so I don’t think there was much money for them in it and I may be wrong but I don’t think they were very helpful or even really cared. It’s quite a shame too because it’s a roomy three bedroom house with a huge fenced in back yard and a big front yard, two car garage with storage loft and in a very good neighborhood. There are even pecan trees in the back. But, it’s in Camden Arkansas, not the best town to live in. Kara wasn’t excited about the idea but understood the temporary state of it and was fine with the idea. At first Hannah wasn’t but with promises of being home-schooled and it being for only up to six months rather then up to a year she gave in to the idea as well.
I brought the idea up to Preston. He replied that it was too late, he had already sent the papers in. He also explained that even if it wasn’t to late it would’nt work because the house was no longer livable due to the excess in needs for repairs.
Onto making new plans. There have been times I have to go lay down and try not to think just to give my brain a break. I’ve always been better at last minute rush type things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t need a brain break from time to time. The rush was on though because my lease was coming up at the end of August and the company we rent from requires a two month notice of wither you are staying or leaving. If they don’t get one there is a penalty fee. It was back to the internet searches and talking with my girls about plans and what they have hopes for. I can’t really go over much with the boys because they don’t have a good concept of time and often think that what ever we are talking about or considering we are actually going to do the very next day or with in the week. I do try to bring up things I believe they can handle. I am also aware that what ever I say will be said in one manner or another to their dad. I just hope he brings up anything he may find upsetting to me and takes into consideration that it’s coming from kids. They have unintentionally twisted up facts and added a few of their own before. He has taken them seriously at times and at other times realized it may not be the whole story. Just like anyone would really. I’ve brought up our pending move a few time to him but it seems he is not taking it to heart. Because he enlisted in the military here the kids will be able to go to collage here for free and he is afraid that if we leave the state they will not take up that opportunity. I’ve told him that because the kids get free collage tuition I know that neither of us will offer to pay for collage for them, it’s just not necessary. So, they will likely come back here for collage. He seems to kind of agree. Someone recently pointed out to me that often kids want to go to collage with their friends which may be an issue Preston is considering. In that case if that’s what they want to do they can get a job and pay for it themselves. I think that maybe what bothers Preston about all this is actually that he served over twenty years in the military and he wants to feel like he got something out of it. He hasn’t actually said that to me but that’s what I’m picking up.
My first search as to where we will relocate was naturally my very missed home state, California. My sister lives there in the San Diego area. My old boy friend, Tony, who is still a good friend also live there in the LA area. I don’t mean to be negative but I do go for realistic and I just don’t think either of them would put any great effort into trying to find us an affordable place there to live. That would actually be the only way for us to be able to move there because searching from here everything is terribly out of our price range. Here in Wisconsin I am paying $669 for a decent sized three bedroom two story home. There, if your lucky, you might be able to get a one bedroom for $1000. My mom currently lived in Arkansas, but if she lived in Cali I could count on her to find a crazy deal for a decent place, it’s one of her talents. I do have another old friend there named Kalea who I really believe would be more helpful if she could and would be a lot of fun to live near. I do have many more friends there but they aren’t close anymore and I don’t have much contact with them other then reading a status update now and then. In the past I have let folks know when I was either moving to their area or considering it and that I could use some help in finding a place or even knowing about the area. I have 962 FaceBook friends at this moment, and very few who are actually willing to help. It’s good to know that so that I don’t expect them all to come to my funeral. Lol I don’t expect to be financially helped or anything like that. I just think it’s nice when people can keep an eye out for deals for each other and let you know or tell you what web sites to find events at or even when you’re new to the area to give you a heads up on the events and the places you just have to visit. Moving as many times as I have I have learned that people, including so called friends and neighbors, are not willing to divulge info that may lead to you and your kids to having a great time. I know not every one is like me, a lesson I learn over and over again, but it just seems like a simple and kind thing to do.
Now that I’m done ranting, back to the new plan. As much as I love the Pacific Ocean and miss it, I also love the heat. I’ve never lived in the desert but I loved my visits there. However, the kids aren’t used to such heat and the girls talked me out of it, for now. We really don’t seem to care for the Mid-West or the Southern staates. Missouri isn’t really all that bad and my very best friends live there. However, other then the terrible tornadoes that rip through there they also don’t have much going on in the area of from, TV, movies and the media indusrty. So far everywhere we’ve moved to there wasn’t much in that area so this time I would really like to move some where where in the near future I may be able to start working in the media field some kind of way and get a talent agent.
On that note: My Aunt Shirley who has lived in Chicago for a long time told me that a lot of the movie industries have been moving to the Charlotte area of North Carolina. Plus she recently bought a home near there and her and my Uncle Ralph are slowly moving there and will eventually live there full time. She has gone on and on about how wonderful that area is. My cousin Shawn, her youngest, lives south of there and he has also gone on about how great it is there. I wanted to live near my Aunt several years ago but it didn’t work out so maybe this is my chance again. Though I hope she has many more years to come her health is often so bad I worry she won’t always make it. It would be nice to be near by, the kids and I just love her company. Plus we could hep her out when she needs it that way too. As far as my cousin, I would like to think having family near by would mean automatic friends. His wife sounds lovely and he has kids near my kids ages. But, when I’ve pm’d him on FaceBook and even left him massages on his wall he never responds and his wife still hasn’t accepted my friend request. I did end up calling him not to long ago and he started off sounding suspicious and cold which I’ve never known him to be. It could be because he was at work and not expecting a call. Though I hope they will except us with open arms, I can’t get my hopes up. His son Lucas who is grown also lives there and he seems friendly and a fun open minded person. I believe I may know a few others there as well. So, as you can see, it looks like we are Charlotte NC bound the last day of August.
As far as the beach, well, it’s about three hours east of Charlotte. A bit far but closer than being clear across the continent. I’ve seen the Atlantic but I am not familiar with it. When doing a little google searching I found the movie studios seem to be more coast located. But it seems there is still plenty going on in Charlotte as well.
My next big obstacle is still my low credit score. It’s possible any company owned properties won’t allow me to rent from them with that bad ugly mortgage mark in there. One lady from the office here where I live suggested I write the credit companies and send them a copy of my divorce decree where it states the house is his. It’s worth a try anyway. I have an excellent rental past which serves me well but will it be enough? Time will tell.
One way or another we are moving. I handed in the two month required paper stating that we would not renew for another years lease. I have often asked the kids if they were sure they really wanted to leave the area. After all if they made friends and liked it here I would have us stay. I want them to be happy. But they are itching to go. They do not like their school and I don’t like either of the kids schools here either. It will be nice also to get away from the stinky factory across the road, thankfully it doesn’t stink all the time, and away from the train tracks that often sequel through out the night. Will we stay in our next location indefinitely? I don’t know and I am not worried about it. We can’t RV right now so we will just move and explore the new places till it’s time to move again or to settle in and stay.
As far as my credit rating, when I brought up to Preston that he was wrong about it not affecting my credit he said he never said that but that it would affect it for a year or so. I have come to understand it will likely be more like five years or so. You can’t even get a Habitat for Humanity home with a mortgage issue like that on your credit so unless I can figure some other way around it, we won’t be making any large purchases for a long time.
With that in mind, I do have good news. My Ford Windstar that I bough for $2000 cash near the Kalamazoo area several years ago just for running around town but actual drove it up and down the country several time needed to retire. It was barley stopping when needed and there was so much wrong with it that repairing it would have been quite excessive. It was terribly rusted and had way to many things wrong with it. It got to the point that it seemed rather dangerous to be driving. I knew a regular dealership wouldn’t deal with me so I looked up the web-site that I hear blasting over the radio bragging they will take you with low credit and this deal and that deal. We all know it here as 1 99 ride! But is actually Wausau Auto. I didn’t have a savoy man with me but since I was desperate for a safe vehicle I walked in there knowing I may get ripped off but as long as I drive away with something and can afford the payments, then I would be happy. They took my beat up Windstar, bumper stickers and all, as a trade in and took some money off, made the deals they needed with their bank and I did indeed drive away with a lovely KIA that runs well and is very comfortable with affordable payments. Of course I’ve had to hear some men tell me about how I could have gotten a much better deal and bla bla bla, but they never offered to help and I didn’t know them very well. I’m happy I have it and it runs and the kids are super happy too. I believe if I had waited a week or two longer I may not have been able to get the vehicle because I am under the impression my credit score has dropped even lower. I’m just glad we have something safe to drive.
Sometimes I do worry about taking the kids so far from their dad. But then I just remind myself that when the next semester starts he will be to busy for them anyway. School is his number one priority. It would be better to live near him when the kids are his priority. And in that case he can always move to NC when he is done with his classes. There is a lot of possibilities there for his upcoming degree. Also his brother and family live just three or four miles north of there. Even though it’s still the summer season I am surprised to find he is making little to no effort to spend time with his kids. I hope and think maybe in time he will get a better understanding on how to interact with children, and what to expect from them since they are not actually grown adults and may actually at times act like, well, kids.
Now it’s on to packing and getting ready for the big move day…again. Boy, is the cat gonna be mad!
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