Friday, August 26, 2011

Discipline - Exercise

One of the things I give up when I leave Corporate America is the fitness center in my building.  Yes – I am fortunate enough to work for a progressive company that understands the value of a fit employee.  While the gym in my office building is small, it features weight machines, free weights, treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes – all facing a flat screen TV for the times I forget to bring my iPod.

I am a runner.  OK – I am a fair-weather runner.  I love to run outside when it’s not too hot and not too cold.  Where I live I can usually run outside between April and October, leaving November, December, January and February needing an indoor exercise facility.  Of course, if we choose to winter in a warm climate, this issue goes away.

But if we winter here, I’ll need a way to get regular exercise in the winter months.  I could join a gym or one of the community recreation centers.  The senior center may have exercise options.  And what about days in the fifth wheel where I’m in rugged country and nowhere near a gym?  Maybe it’s time to buy a copy of “Wii-Fit” and try it out.  Or purchase an exercise DVD with hand weights – one of my co-workers swears by it.

I made arrangements to tour Gold’s Gym next week.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Change is in the Air

Paul and I went camping last weekend.  We’ve owned a Springbar tent for almost twenty years, camped with the kids many times, and still enjoy getting away for a long weekend in the mountains.  There’s something about the clear, crisp mountain air that allows the kind of relaxation that rejuvenates.  Not to mention, of course, the total lack of distraction from technology. J

As we were packing up Tuesday morning to come home, it occurred to me that this may have been my last time tent-camping.  This summer is almost over, and next summer, when we plan to make camping (at least, camp-hosting) our career, the tent will stay in the basement storage - along with the camping box and kitchen box that we have lovingly kept over the years.  Instead, we’ll be pulling a home behind us.
I will miss tent camping.  I will miss waking to an outdoor kitchen and watching the sun rise while the coffee perks merrily on a camp stove.  I will miss bringing that first cup of coffee down to the lake to fish.  I will miss Paul’s gourmet Dutch oven meals.   I will miss the card and dice games inside the tent while the rain which is inevitable in our local mountains splashes in loud dollops on the canvas – but stays outside. 

OK – I can still pour a cup of coffee from the Mr. Coffee in the fifth-wheel and take it fishing.  And no, Paul will not stop cooking in the Dutch oven – I’m sure we can find a fire pit somewhere in camp.  But it won’t be the same.  Some of the changes in retirement will be more difficult to manage than others.
The camping equipment has all been cleaned and prepared for the next trip – just in case.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home Base

Paul always told me he would be perfectly happy to sell the house and live in the 5th Wheel year-round.  Not having a permanent place to call home, he said, doesn’t bother him. 

It bothers me.  When we started planning for retirement years ago we compromised on selling our current home and buying a condo.  That way, we could lock the doors and leave without worrying about who’s going to mow the lawn or pull the weeds.  That was a great plan – five years ago.
But a slow housing market and the realities of condo life have conspired to cause us to rethink this plan.  The rental units – a significant source of our retirement income – still take day to day maintenance, which Paul does himself.  That means he needs tools.  That means he needs a garage.  Not sure we want the HOA police knocking at our door if Paul leaves the lawnmower on the front lawn.

The day may come when the housing market turns around and we can sell our high-maintenance rentals for lower maintenance rentals.  Until that day, we’ve decided to keep our current home as “home base.” 
Add another line item to the retirement costs:  we’ll need to pay someone to take care of our home and maintain the rentals while we’re off camp-hosting.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Fifth Wheel

One of the requirements of camp hosting is, of course, a recreational vehicle.  Most of the camp host web sites strongly recommend that the more self-contained your RV, the better your selection of camp hosting opportunities.

In 2004 we bought a ¾ ton truck with the intention that when we retired it would pull our fifth-wheel trailer to all these exotic spots where we’ll work and play.  We went to a Recreational Vehicle Show and toured dozens of models.
My favorite at the time was the one with the large picture windows out the back, and twin recliners that would face outside.  Paul thought this was terribly impractical.  He liked the model with extra sleeping and storage room at the back.  That way, he reasoned, we could have the grandkids come stay with us.  (Note to my readers – as of this writing we still have no grandkids.)

Another option that has been added to our list of considerations is a "toy hauler."  This fifth-wheel has a tailgate that comes all the way down, allowing you to drive your toys (we’re considering purchasing an ATV and a scooter) into the trailer.  The living space is at the front.  This may be a necessary compromise to ensure we’re able to get around within the campground, but as my friend Diane told me, “with the tailgate down you still have the picture window.”