My Bucket List

Even if most of us don’t have it written down, I think we all have a mental bucket list.  There are things that we know might not happen, and maybe, probably won’t happen, but it’s nice to dream.

I’ve never written out my bucket list, but looking back on my life, I’ve been so blessed. 

I’ve known God since I was a little girl and met a man who, even though he didn’t know the Lord at the time, was open to Him. I’m a wife, a mom to six of the most amazing kids on the planet, and now am adding adorable grand kids and sons and daughters-in-law to the mix.

I’ve lived in the states, in Europe and in Africa and have had my eyes opened to how much we take for granted and how blessed we are as a country.

On a lighter side, I’ve been to some of my favorite sporting events, like the U.S.  Open, several Colts games, and, of course, the ultimate sports experience, a Buckeye game at the Horseshoe!

O…H…. Sorry, Couldn’t Help Myself!

Throughout my life, I’ve seen quite a bit of the United States and those wonderful memories bring more than a few smiles, remembering special moments with family.  I was also able to take two short-term mission trips to Poland and be involved with several wonderful churches.

For the most part, I loved being at home with my kids during their growing up years.  My youngest, Jordan, was in high school when I struck out on my own and started a business, Yikes Organizing.  I’ve met SO MANY amazing people on this journey and have so much to be thankful for, including good health for most of my life.

Our Life Takes A Detour…Literally

In August, Brent and I decided to try something new…again!  We sold almost everything and bought a Winnebago Minnie Winnie and started traveling the country.   People don’t really ask us how we like it, but if they did my answer would be that I’m glad we are doing it, but it isn’t always easy.

When we first decided to RV full-time, I guess I thought if we hated it, we could go back to renting, and I could probably start Yikes back up, either in Nashville or another city.  I felt stuck in life and knew it was time for a change.  I’ve read a lot about failure and that it’s better to try something and have it not work out than not try at all and this made sense to me in some sort of warped way!

Sometimes I get bogged down in the forest of the moment and miss the trees.  It’s hard to totally appreciate the special moments in life when you are in them, but then I look back and realize how much I have. 

Brent and I did this little overview of our lives the other night and it was so encouraging the things we remembered, the people we were able to help, the friendships made, the things we’ve been able to see and do.

Was Starting Another Company On My Bucket List?

Recently, I decided to try another new thing with a business aimed at RVers.  Although my primary market is full-timers, there are a lot of people who are in transition to full-time RVing or who just love camping and I want to reach out to them as well.

If asked how to describe this new business, I would say if Yikes Organizing and Full-time RVing had a baby, it would be Organized Kamper!

So, the proof is in the pudding as to whether I can make a go of this or not.  In my first two months with Yikes I made like $800 so the bar is set kinda low, which is good!  It is fun though to imagine the possibilities.  It seems like RV renovations are huge right now, so if I could tap into that market, that would be amazing.

In closing, I’m grateful to those of you who read this.  Thank you for giving me a reason to write! 

I would love to hear what’s on your bucket list!

The one that got away!
  • On a lighter note…some goals are truly unattainable. I’ve had this picture for probably at least ten years and I’ve never been able to get the outfit.  When I first saw this in a magazine, I couldn’t afford it, and then later, when I could, it wasn’t in stock anymore.  I guess if that’s where my head goes when I think of regrets, that’s not horrible, right?  But, seriously, isn’t this just the most classic look ever? 😊

 

Sharing in an RV Isn’t Always Good

 

We have been taught from infancy on that sharing is a good thing.  While that’s normally true, there are exceptions to every rule.  I suggest that no matter how old you are or what size your camper is, you need your own space. 

What’s Mine is Yours…Kinda

This is one of the first decisions we made after purchasing Fred. It may seem archaic, but all I can tell you is that it prevents fights.  We have bunk beds and because it’s just the two of us, we each get a bunk for storage.  Brent has his files and printer on his and my bunk has extra nonperishable food, the things that must be put away when we travel, and extra empty storage bins.  (As a Certified Professional Organizer® some habits die hard.  I’m just sure I will meet some stranger who will need a total RV overhaul and I will be Johnny on the Spot!)

When I had Yikes, my organizing business, this is where I kept my extra bins. Isn’t that pretty? 🙂

Brent also gets one woven basket that sits permanently (to my chagrin) on our kitchen table. I say this because it’s a jumble of cords and misc. things that, probably don’t “deserve” that prime real estate, but life, and marriage, is all about compromises.

He gets the side of the bed with two big drawers and my side only has one small one, but I make up for this by getting two extra drawers for clothes storage.

Math Was Never My Strong Suit

And, as you might expect, more than half of the closet is mine.  (If I’m going to be a stereotypical woman, I might as well go all the way!)

The point is… everybody needs their own space, even in something relatively small like an RV.  I don’t organize Brent’s spaces (although it almost kills me!) and he stays out of mine.

The Dangers of Working 24/7 When You RV Full-time

What Kind of RVer are You?

There are two kinds of full-time RVers…those who work from their RVs and those who are retired.  If you are retired, hopefully you haven’t fallen into the trap of working 24/7.  For the rest of us, it’s hard to know when to take a day off because the day of the week isn’t as important anymore.  You can get just as much work done on a Saturday as a Tuesday, which has its advantages but isn’t always a plus.

So often I find myself working right through the weekend and if I ever take time off (let alone a day) I feel guilty. 

I know part of this is my personality… I’m driven and so often measure my worth by my productivity.  I’m working so hard (Haha, get it?) on “being” more instead of “doing” but it’s a constant struggle.

Progress is being made. We will be at the same campground for a while so I am allowing myself morning pickle ball. If there were tennis courts I’d do that in a heartbeat, but when in Rome…)

Sorry tennis peeps…I’ve gone to the dark side! 🙂

It’s not that I’m opposed to fun!  I hadn’t played pickleball before and I like it and it’s a better workout than I thought.  (Just another lesson for me about poo-pooing something before I’ve tried it.) But, here’s the rub.  I’m also able to check off exercise on my list while playing so it’s entirely possible that I’m seeing this in the wrong light.

I know you are probably wondering what kind of work I’m trying to escape from, right? In March, I’m having my website professionally reworked which is exciting but has required work behind the scenes.  First, I had to find the right person (or, in my case, couple) to do it.  Then I had to rewrite a bunch of stuff, add categories, menu options and the copy to go with it.

Organized Kamper Goes Virtual

As I type that, I realize that many of you don’t know what that is.  You’ve heard of virtual assistants, right?  Well, virtual organizers help people get organized through FaceTime or any other visual medium.

I decided to offer virtual organizing so I’ve spent a bunch of time researching the topic and today I signed up for a five-week class that will help me with the basics.

I’ve also started an Instagram account where I post twice a day, which sounds easy but takes way more time than I thought.  I’m trying to figure out my Avatar, build a brand and a bunch of other marketing stuff that I should be good at but am not.

I want so badly to get my ducks in a row…

 

this is what always seems to happen

Finally, in the last week we have had three, yes count them, three, social engagements.  You might count these in the “fun” category and they were, but two of the three were also networking type things.  (Do you see a pattern here where I can’t just let something be fun…it must be fun AND serve some secondary purpose!)

And, of course, as I’ve said before just living in an RV takes more time than you would think. 

What Kind of Work Do You Avoid?

We still have grocery shopping, bill paying, errand running, laundry, cleaning and cooking just like you would in a home.  Everything must be broken down and set back up on days where we travel.  We sometimes spend entire days on the road getting from one place to another.  (Interesting side note… the most miles we have ever gone in a day is 500!)

There’s also the planning of our, um, actual life which takes a ton of time!  Recently we spent several days trying to decide how best to get back to Indiana in mid-April for our son’s wedding.

First, we figured out that flying was the cheapest option, because every time we drive four hours it costs $100 in gas. Then we had to decide where to fly out of and when and finally we need to come up with a plan for what to do with the RV for the two weeks we will be in Indiana.

As we are currently in southern California and are flying out of Phoenix, we are still undecided as to whether to leave the RV in storage here or drive it back to Phoenix and then head further west from there when we return.  So there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle.

I can SO identify with this little guy!

Sometimes I write something and then ask myself where I was going with it!

Just Be…

Today, I wanted to encourage you all to do something that I struggle with…giving yourself permission every once in awhile to just do nothing. 

Or, even better, do something fun with no hidden agenda behind it.  I know this doesn’t directly correlate to organizing but sometimes the clutter can be in our minds.

Wanted: Change of Perspective

It has been a hard week for us, reminding me that perspective is everything. We had two very long travel days in a row to get to Mesa, AZ from Texas.  We stopped for a few days in a “55-years and over” RV park, which is basically all they have here in the Phoenix area!  They let us in even though, technically, we are under age.

Brent joked that you know things are bad when you need a fake ID saying you are older than you really are!

I’m back to struggling with what I want to be when I grow up.  Time is short and I want to make the most of it, but am still not sure what that looks like or what God’s plan is for us.

We got some bad news today that a friend’s child, who is only three and has struggled with bladder cancer for over a year, now has it in his stomach.  This little guy has been through so much and although I don’t know this family well, they have become close to my heart in a way that I can’t explain.  So there have been lots of tears and questions tonight and I finally gave up on sleep and am writing this at 3:45 a.m.

I know that questioning the “why” isn’t going to get me anywhere but I can’t help it.  It seems so unfair. And then I start thinking about my parents, whom I miss so much, and my thoughts just take an ugly downhill turn.

I know I need to get back to the truth about God and His character.

When I was texting with my daughter, Kaitlyn, tonight (who is very close to this family) she said, “I think the longer I live the more I realize how my perspective needs to change.  That this world is sick and dying.  That any safety, happiness, or peace we feel is an undeserved grace of God each day.  That heaven is real and soon coming and that He must withhold more evil than we can ever fathom.”

Life truly is a journey into the unknown. Glad we never do it alone.

How did I get to the place in life where I’m learning from my own kids? 

I don’t think I had that kind of wisdom or perspective at age 28.  So, in a  strange way, that comforts me. God has blessed me with amazing kids!

Some interesting things did happen this week.  There’s another lady who isn’t an organizer, per se, but who has made a living writing books about organization and who has lived full-time in an RV for the past eight years.  Long story short, I emailed her about something, not knowing that she and her husband were in Mesa for the winter.  So last night (well, technically two nights ago) they invited us over for dinner.  It was fun to hear stories from another couple our age who have decided to live this way.

Then today, the people who live on our street had an annual pot luck and we were invited. We joked that our social calendar has never been fuller!  But being here for four days has made us realize that we aren’t quite ready for this life…meaning six months somewhere warm and six months somewhere else,although when you get to be a certain age, I certainly see the appeal.

Later this morning we are heading to Desert Hot Springs in southern California where we plan on spending a month.

We are both excited to be in that part of the country and hope to do some day trips to Joshua Tree National Park, San Diego and other fun spots.  I also hope to catch some tennis at Indian Wells in March.

Guess I will try to get back to sleep.  Thanks for letting me vent.

Nite!

Trains, Planes and Automobiles: Where NOT to Kamp

Truth in Advertising

When you think of trains, what pops into your mind? Romantic travels in exotic places or obnoxious train whistles in the middle of the night? I’m not somebody who needs total peace and quiet to work or sleep (which is good since I raised six kids) but now that I’ve reached middle-age, I find that solitude is becoming more important.

I can listen to music while I work but the t.v. is too much of a distraction.  And, at night, I certainly don’t want to hear animals, people shouting or, God forbid, trains.  We stayed at an RV “resort” in Goodlettville, TN, just outside of Nashville, that was about 100 feet from train tracks.

Not only that, but the trains came and went at all hours of the day and night.  Fred literally shook with fear when they came barreling through.  We are both still traumatized.

trains run constantly behind our campground
This is how far Fred was from the evil trains!

Of course, this is the first RV park that we booked for a month because it was near several of our kids and Nashville had been our home since 2010.  We put money down without seeing the campground and without thinking to ask about trains. After about three days, between the rain and cold temperatures and the trains, I was about to lose my mind.  It also didn’t help that I caught the flu during this period.

Can We Turn This Into a Drinking Game?

There is an upside to all this though as my husband and I have turned it into a new game.  If, in the directions to any campground, we see “cross the train tracks and” we run screaming in the other direction.  We stayed at a nice campground in Maine but it was close to a major airport and that was bad too. You would be outside and would have to stop talking until the plane went over.  Then there’s the campground that’s 1/10 of a mile from the freeway and that stinks too.

Of course, we have also had our share of being pelted by acorns (which sound way louder hitting the roof that you would think) and being buffeted by the wind.  (Which makes me think if we are ever in a real tornado we are done for because we will hear the train whistle sound and just think it’s a real train!)

The other night we were confronted with a new sound though and it was the scariest noise yet…ungodly screams at about 2:00 a.m.

We were at a lovely state campground in Texas (Palmetto State Park if you want to check it out) and couldn’t figure out what in the world was going on.  The next morning we decided it was probably an animal fight of some sort.  Wild pigs, maybe? Oh my! The things we never bargained for when we set out on this journey!

wild pigs roaming in Texas
We didn’t see this actual pig but I hear they roam that part of Texas…

So…my advice to you is this.  Before committing to any campground long term, do your research and make sure you know what you are getting into.  No, you won’t be able to predict acorns or pine cones hitting your roof, but by paying attention to reviews from other campers, you will find out about planes, trains and automobiles!

P.S.  Am having some fun conversations with other people on Instagram who have stayed at this RV “resort.”  Misery really does love company!

Oops I Did it Again…What Not to Buy Right Away if You Are New RV Owners

Brent and I got a bit lucky here. We were new RV owners, but as neither of us had even been in an RV before we bought Fred, we needed basic things that most campers already have… items like outdoor chairs, a cooler and a grill. We did a ton of research online and love almost everything we bought.

I think because we were so busy getting things we knew we would need, we didn’t have the time (or budget) to go crazy with extras.

In fact, there are only a few things I would do differently now that we have been on the road for five months. One thing I would change is our outdoor carpet. I love the style and that it’s made from recycled plastic. It isn’t soft, but you can spray it down with a hose which is practical. It’s huge though, (8×20) and since we don’t have great basement storage I wish we had bought something smaller.

A second thing that, in hindsight, didn’t work was our collapsible broom. I love almost everything we got that breaks down…bowls, crates, a colander…but this broom never worked from day one and just yesterday I threw it out and got a regular broom at Winn-Dixie.

The verdict is still out on a third item because we haven’t used it yet. I broke my own rule of only buying small and got Brent a regular hammock for Christmas. They make little bitty ones that hang between trees and are about the size of a football, but I wanted something sturdy and that we could set up anywhere.

When I saw the size of the box, I knew we were in trouble and it’s still in our basement waiting to be put together. I’ve decided not to beat myself up about it though because I was trying to surprise and bless him. (I got it half right!) 😊

It’s tempting to start buying “gadgets” but this is where you must be careful.

I read that one woman brought her turkey fryer! That decision did bring a smile to my face. I try not to judge but I’m pretty sure she regretted that decision! Think about how much you use certain appliances at home and realize you will probably use them even less on the road. In other words, you probably don’t need a toaster oven and a waffle iron and a George Foreman griddle. You might not want to buy a special GPS system or an air compressor until you have been on the road for a while and know whether you will use these things.

Okay…I might judge you if I found this in your RV! 🙂

I met a lady who had a small Airstream and brought her Vitamix. It was essential for her, but it might be a gadget for someone else, so you have to know your own mind and tendencies.

One popular blog suggests getting huge lug wrenches and I can tell you right now that neither Brent nor I would have the slightest idea of what to do with something like that! But for the mechanically inclined, it might save a ton of money.

The bottom line is that as new RV owners you will make some mistakes and buy a few things you never use or that break on the second day you use them, but my suggestion is to give yourselves some leeway.

Well…there ARE exceptions to every rule! 🙂

Habitat for Humanity Build

I’ve just completed my second day on a Habitat for Humanity build here in Louisiana.  Usually the builds are two weeks long but this one was just a week because of Mardi Gras next Tuesday.  Can I be honest?  I’m glad we chose the shorter one!

Part of this is my fault.  I had visions of an old-fashioned barn raising where we would be in on the beginning of the build, the sun would be shining, someone with a guitar would be singing country songs and beer and chips would be plentiful.  (Are you thinking I might watch too much football?)  Instead, we were more at the tail end of the build in torrential rainstorms and I’ve spent two days painting.

I know I shouldn’t whine about this. After all, I volunteered, which, I think, means I’m supposed to be good with whatever they want me to do.  The thing is… I’m not a good painter and I really, really don’t like it.

Do you think I’m being a wee bit dramatic?  Well, today the Habitat crew leader (who hadn’t said a word to me until this point) came up and criticized my painting.  I wanted to say, “Well there’s no electricity so it’s hard to see and because it has rained for two days straight I’m walking through knee deep red mud to get to my car and I’m peeing in a port-a-potty, so, of course, my painting isn’t great.”

Instead I asked him how I could do it better.  (Ten points for me!)

Bless her heart, one of the other volunteers spent the next half hour trying to talk me off the ledge by saying that it really was dark in that back bedroom and that at least I excelled at window caulking.  (Which was true.  Maybe I will just go around the country caulking windows!)

Anyway, I bring this up because I keep up with another RV couple  and earlier this week they shared that they tried to launch something (not a rocket!) and the system got overloaded and crashed and their point was that you need to share your failures as well as your successes.  I was touched by their honesty and  applaud them for that.  As cool as life on the road can be, it doesn’t always meet our expectations and things like the flu or vertigo or people who make fun of your painting skills can still ruin your day if you let it.

Deep down, I know we are helping people and that comforts me.

In fact, we met the homeowner today and she was as sweet as could be and very appreciative of what we were doing. Please don’t get me wrong.  Habitat for Humanity is an amazing organization and I love what they are doing. So if I focus on anything right now, I’m choosing to focus on that!

Our Week in New Orleans

Well there has never been a dull moment in the Eimer family and I don’t know why that would stop now.  So far, this week two of our kids have gotten pets and one moved.  Brent bought a ticket to Florida to see the Falcon Heavy launch and we made it to New Orleans to help with a Habitat for Humanity build.

We met the coolest family from Quebec who are traveling the country in a converted school bus.  We boondocked for a second time with our favorite host, Jason, (and it doesn’t hurt that we stay in the parking lot of his amazing restaurant so days in Fairhope are no cooking days for me!)

I feel like I’m getting some traction in several areas of life. I started an Instagram account @organizedkamper. Starting to connect through Instagram with people who could be friends and it’s just encouraging to see pics from dozens of other people who are also full-time RVing.  I just got in touch with another family who is in New Orleans right now so maybe we will be able to meet.

I like it that different parts of the country have different specialties when it comes to food.  We did go a little crazy and bought crab legs four times while in Destin, but I may have met my match here with the King Cake.

I had never heard of them but apparently, it’s an Epiphany and/or Mardi Gras thing.  The definition I found online describes it as a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry.  It’s decorated in royal colors of purple which signifies justice, green for faith and gold for power.  We bought one, but I couldn’t get past the sprinkles!

Here’s the interesting thing though.  A plastic baby Jesus  gets baked into the cake and then the person who gets that piece is supposed to buy the next King Cake.  I feel like there’s a mixed metaphor in there somewhere but I’m trying not to overthink it!

Hoping to get to a parade while we are here.  Who doesn’t want Moon Pies thrown at them at least once in their life?

I joke, but I think it’s cool that every place we have been has events that are special for them and that they are proud of.  Having spent the last eight years in Music City, I understand taking pride in where you live.

That’s it for now.  Have a great Sunday everyone!!

 

Making the Most of Tiny Spaces in Your RV Bathroom

Today we are going to take a look at your RV bathroom. When we bought our RV, it came with this tiny cabinet above the toilet that has two shelves that are 17” long and 3.5” wide. It took me a while to come up with a solution, because I wanted to make a way so that objects wouldn’t shift and fly out of the cupboard when I opened it for the first time after traveling. Can anyone relate?

I went with Linus shallow drawer organizers.

I got these at The Container Store, but you can also get them at Target, Walmart and probably TJMaxx or Lowe’s. I love how my toiletries stay put and I can group like with like. (The cardinal rule of organization!)

After taking this picture I realized that the towel bar isn’t centered under the cabinet. Grrr… Obviously the people who design these RVs aren’t OCD like yours truly! 🙂

 

Yes, this is almost all my stuff but hubby has the bigger nightstand all to himself for his toiletries.

 

Since the drawer organizers are hard to see in the cabinet, I pulled one out for closer inspection!

Many RVers have real cabinets in their bathroom, but ours only has the small medicine cabinet over the toilet and 2-door cabinet under the sink.  I have shoe box sized tubs under there that are stacked up two high.  I also have a silverware caddy that I leave on the counter and it has everyday items like my brush and medicine in it.

For more quick tips, please check out my Instagram @organizedkamper. I’m also working on setting up a Pinterest page with lots of tips and cool pics.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Kamping!!

Destin Wrap Up

Our time in Destin is coming to an end.  It’s only the second place on our journey where I feel I made friends and I’m sad to leave them.  There’s a group of 16-20 people who play tennis a few miles from us and they have been so kind to include me and it’s meant a lot.  I’m already hoping to come back next year and stay even longer…or get here earlier.

I feel like I’ve grown as a person during our time here.  I know, it has only been a month, but you can fit a lot of living in a month! 

I’ve made it through the worst of the vertigo scare – although I still need to get checked out by an ENT as my right ear hurts and I’m still experiencing some dizziness.

I’ve done a TON of work on my new blog and reached out to quite a few people in the RVing arena to get that started.  I had a ball in Tampa at the RV show.  An Instagram account has been started (with a little help from my kids) and I’m consciously striving to be grateful, fearless and intentional.  I’ve tried several new churches and have gotten out of my comfort zone several times in reaching out to others, including bringing donuts to my super annoying neighbors! (Maybe one of my three words should have been attitude!)

This month I’ve been able to let go of “my” plans and be more open to what God might be saying.  In other words, I’m still working on the “being” but I feel my death grip is at least loosening on doing things “my way” so we will call that progress.

Is it bad that I bought this for MYSELF! LOL

I’ve been encouraged by my husband, my kids, my sisters and friends back home on days where I felt a little sad or frustrated. We’ve had a plan for the past two months, but, after Habitat in February, I’m not sure what’s coming next.

My daughter Marta and I want to check out Seattle together before she moves there this spring. Our oldest son is getting married in April but there are definitely some gaps, so we will see what happens.

For now, I’m just trying to take things one day at a time…