The Flooring in the RV is Installed!


The flooring is in. I love the way it turned out. Quarter round still needs to be added, but I think it looks great. This flooring is very easy to install and I could have installed it by myself, but I had help. (Mostly I just sat and watched, but I have installed this before.)

In case you’re interested, the flooring is: SuperFast® RidgePlex Lite Mist Floating Vinyl Plank 7 x 36 (19.48 sq.ft/pkg). I bought it from Menard’s for $44.59 a package. I ended up needing 5 boxes. I figured approximately 70 sq. ft. was needed if you figure 10 % waste.

This flooring did not need any power tools for installation (it can be scored and snapped or if you have a snap cutter, which we did, you can cut it easily) and it’s a floating floor, so it did not have to be glued down.

I love this flooring and how everything is coming together. I also received the new outside step in the mail today and it’s supposed to be installed tomorrow, so that will be great too. The current step feels like it is going to break underneath you!

Progress Costs $$!

I feel somewhat accomplished this week. I ordered the stone coating for the countertops yesterday, as well as some other supplies I need. Tonight I intend to go pickup the rest of the flooring and some plastic drop clothes and tape for taping off edges.

I wish I’d gotten my act together and ordered sooner, so that I’d have it. It would be nice to get the primer painted on the countertop tomorrow so that on Sunday I could do the coating. Instead I’ll plan on spending one or two days over there next week.

I will also have to buy what’s necessary for re-coating the roof, because I noted a leak over the mattress when I was there last. Luckily, I am replacing the mattress, but now I can’t do that until the leak is fixed. It’s a real bummer.

The biggest issue I’m having right now is with trying to be patient for repairs. I can’t move forward with certain things until they are done. Once it’s safe to drive it again, I’ll need to take it to have the propane tank re-filled (also waiting on the sanding and painting of that tank) and then once that is done, I can determine if everything works. I am sure I will have to have the AC recharged. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t have to replace any appliances or other water-related parts. I can find things for a reasonable price, but it all adds up.

I have made no progress in emptying my house. I made progress last weekend with my garage and I got rid of a ton of garage garbage in a bulk pickup that they do around here just once a year. They weren’t even supposed to take everything I put out, but were nice enough to do so. I still have a ton of garbage to pull out of the basement, because it floods and a lot of things got ruined.

Meanwhile, there are tons of boxes and bins to go through in the garage–or that’s how it feels. I’d like to empty the dining room and office this weekend, but I know I cannot do it all.

Other things on my list include getting my Great Dane current on his vaccinations and begin going through the food in the kitchen.

Once again, I’ll say it: my dream/goal is so close, but still so far! It’s a lot of work to try to carry out on your own when you only get one day a week off!!

I will post pictures after I re-do the countertop and install the floor. I’m very excited!


Things Are Progressing!



Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a moment to write, but I really wanted to update those of you who are following.

At first things were at a standstill due to the winter. As the weather got cold last fall, I really couldn’t paint or do much in it and then in February I moved the RV to a repair shop where it sat until recently. Unfortunately, there was no progress made. The mechanic I had working on it made a lot of promises about the RV, my Firebird and a Mitsubishi Montero I bought. It’s a long story about how ALL of my vehicles ended up in one place (I’ll save it for another blog entry) and why no progress was made. The good news is that I have people helping me who actually are making progress!

The countertop, oven and sink have been installed. The last owner actually build a new lower cabinet frame for the small kitchen area and built a wooden countertop. He was going to cover it in dark laminate and gave me the roll. I thought that was too much effort and decided to do a Stone Coat Countertop. I can only hope that my version turns out as good as the video I’m trying to copy, but this is the look I plan to go for:  LIQUID EPOXY with a paint stick. I plan to order what I need this week and I’m very excited. I’m also going to be picking up the flooring, which will be a vinyl plank in a light grey.

If you’ve been following my blog, you may have read where I make small investments each week out of my paycheck. I decided to sell the stocks I had, which wasn’t much. I’d been giving $5 here and there once a week for about a year and 3 of the 4 I was giving to were doing well. I cashed about somewhere around $950. It just so happens that I figured I need about $1,000 in things for the RV to leave, so that was very helpful and once I get moved, I will start re-investing again. In case you’re interested, I do have a referral link. You can do it for just $5 and you can control when it comes out. I had mine set up to automatically come out weekly, because I get paid weekly. I started with two and when they were doing well, I added one or two more. Here is the link: Stash Invest.

The countertop will cost about $70 for what I need to order from the site. I can get away with a sampler kit because I have such little space to cover. I believe I will have enough leftover to do the small countertop for the bathroom area too.

I have a case and a half left of the flooring already. I put the same flooring in my bathroom earlier this year and that’s what I had left. I believe I only need to purchase 2 more cases, but I will purchase 3, because it is not available locally and I have to drive about an hour to get it. I’d rather have one too many that I can either return later or keep for repairs then be one less and have all the stores be out. It will cost me about $150 to finish purchasing the flooring and since I’m buying it from Menard’s right now, I’ll get a 11% rebate.

Other things I need to purchase include a new step for the entrance, a new mattress, and curtains (I’m purchasing some curtains from Walmart and cutting them down to the right size and sewing them. I believe I can get 3 curtains out of a panel and each window needs 4 short panels. I already have one set I use in my bedroom currently, so I’ll recycle that and since there are three big windows to cover, I’ll need to buy just two more panels at about $13 each. I’ll work on something for the front windshield later on and am focusing on just the side windows. The back windows by the mattress already have shades I like and so does the doorway and the small kitchen window. I also have a divider between the bedroom and bathroom area and the rest of the RV, so for now, changing can be done behind it.)

I am keeping my fingers crossed that all of my appliances and things work. Things like the refrigerator, oven/stove, microwave, water pump, water heater and the air conditioner.

Mice chewed through the built-in power cord, so that has to be replaced, but the current mechanic was able to find a 40 foot replacement for FREE (my favorite word). Also, one of the vent covers on the roof has cracked and is broken since moving the RV and the other guy working on it was able to bring me an extra one he had for FREE also.

I have decided not to move my TVs. First of all, my 55 or 60″ TV is about 3 or 4 years old and was a cheap brand when I bought it. I think I paid $350 for it from Walmart’s website. The sound is terrible on it and last year I finally purchased a soundbar so I could hear it!! I have to move my stuff (eventually) 2200 miles. Chances are, the TVs might not make it. Smaller TVs I have in other rooms are older and heavier. I’m looking for a thin, lightweight TV that is good quality. I can buy something reasonable at Walmart and figure if I sell what I have, I can repurpose the money for a new small TV and then when I move into a house again some day, I’ll just have to buy a TV.

I rented a 10 x 20 storage building last weekend and began putting things in it. The process for emptying my house is very difficult with my 6 day a week work schedule and being the only adult working on it! My 10-year-old daughter is a huge help, but there is only so much she can do. A second adult helping would be great!

The best plan I can come up with was to pull as much garbage/throw away stuff as I could out last weekend. This week is the “bulky” pickup for my city. They only do it once a year and claim that only certain things can be picked up; however, each year everyone throws out whatever they want and they seem to take it. Now watch, this will be the year I do that and they leave most of it! We will see. So I piled my curb pretty high with stuff and paid $25 for two old couches and a baby mattress to be hauled away. I took two loads over to the storage building on Sunday and I actually can see a difference in the garage.

I wanted to have a garage sale last weekend, because it was also the big garage sale weekend for my city, but I realized much too late that I was not prepared. I was up until 1 a.m. Friday night working and could not bring myself to be up at 6 to set up a garage sale. Also, the weather had turned cold (in the 40s) and was raining and so I decided to just put it off until I am ready.

In order to make all of this work, I have to sell two vehicles AND about $1500 worth of my stuff before I leave! Ha, doesn’t really sound like it’s going to work, does it? Especially when I’m shooting for being out of here the first two weeks of June.

Worse case scenario I will have to hang around WI in the RV in order to come up with the gas money and one month’s site rental in OR, but the important thing is getting out of this house and making sure it is empty and clean for my landlord.

My goal this week is to take down the dining room table set and baker’s rack in the dining room and to move those thing into storage. I also have random things I can take now (such as a fake knight and armor – short human sized – that I have in the living room. The goal is to get anything out of the house that I’m not currently using. I’d like to get the garage and basement cleared out first, as well as use the empty dining room (once it is empty) store a pile of boxes and items ready to go to storage. I figure if I work on it a little bit each evening, I’ll see some real progress.

One massively obnoxious thing that has to be done before I move is to have help literally pulling apart the staircase leading up to the second floor where my bedroom is. When moving in, all the steps but one had to be removed in order to fit the queen box spring up the stairs. I’m not about to leave my Sterns & Foster box spring and mattress behind, so the effort will have to be repeated.

So a lot of progress is happening, but I am still so far away from being ready! I just have to keep plugging away at it. The more I do over the next two or three weeks, the less of a burden it will be when it’s time to go.

One thing I’d like to do is have my RV outfitted with about 300 watts of solar panels before I go and have the help. I don’t want to get the kind that I have to set up each time, because I am worried about theft. It’s about $300 to buy the three panels online and $15 for the mounting brackets for each panel, plus there is a handful of stuff I have to buy to hook it into the system. I’d like to be able to boondock if needed. Between the solar panels and my holding tank, it should be possible.

One other issue I ran into is that because my RV is older, my propane tank is actually built-in. Many places will not refill them if they are built-in, because they don’t realize you can. If they are built-in, I discovered, they do not have to be re-certified and can be re-filled as long as they are in good condition, so we are going to sand the rust spots off and repaint mine. I bought three cans of a primer and paint mix from Walmart this morning.

I was lucky enough to find a gas station in the same town where the RV is being stored that is willing to refill the tank for me. In the future, I will have to find another place like that or will have to get an adapter that hooks my current system up to a refillable tank like you’d use on a grill. That’s not ideal for me, so I am hoping that since I am going to an area that has a high amount of long-term RV residents, I won’t have a problem getting it filled.

The current goal is Waldport, Oregon. After a lot of research, I decided this is the place I want to go to. It’s right on the ocean and seems to have a lot of the qualities we’re looking for. I was hesitant in choosing beach life over city life (worried I’d get bored), but my dream is to be by the water and this is how I can do that.

The ultimate plan is to buy a piece of land (in about a year) that I can move my RV too and then work on putting up a tiny house. Eventually I want to build my dream house, but this is how I want to start. I’m tired of renting and at the moment, cannot get a mortgage. A lot of that may change in the next year as I reduce my bills and live a simpler life. As long as I keep the mortgage payments up on a piece of property I use as a rental and continue to make repairs on that rental, in a year I should be able to finish repairs and sell the home. I actually have equity in the house, so that would be huge in helping me achieve my dream home.

This post has been long. I thank readers who are following along and hope to have more time to blog about this experience as we go

Moving in Frankfurt, Germany: The Skippy on Cost

We found that SIXT was the cheapest way to go for truck rentals in Frankfurt.

Moving can be a challenge for an expat in Frankfurt am Main.  It can be a problem whether you’re picking up furniture or trying to move an entire household.  One problem many people run into in Frankfurt is the fact that many rely on public transportation, biking and walking as their means of travel.  Many people do not own vehicles and those who do, often drive cars that are smaller and can’t really be used for hauling furniture items.

Finding a place in Germany and furnishing it can be a tricky experience for an expat.  Many expats find themselves in need of a furnished sublet for the first few months (up to one year) that they are in Frankfurt, even if they have a job.  This is because many landlords look upon foreigners (unless they’re EU citizens) as individuals who can leave the country and return home at any time.  If this is the case, it can be very difficult to track the person down if money is owed or they’ve damaged property somehow.

If you’ve searched in the right places (I’ll post a blog on this later), you’ve probably found that there are many free or inexpensive items (in good condition) available in Frankfurt.  The catch is simple: you’ve got to pick them up.  If you’re willing to haul the item and often times, to disassemble it, you can furnish an apartment or room relatively inexpensively.

If you know someone who has a car that can haul some furniture items, you may consider asking them if they would be willing to help you get some furniture.  Keep in mind, that it can take several trips to several different locations to find everything you need.  You will probably need to pay for gas and depending on the person you’re asking, you may have to give them additional money for their time.  You’ll have to work this out with your friend.  If you are on a really tight budget and know the person well, perhaps offer them dinner or lunch.

Many people come to Frankfurt with the idea that finding and furnishing an apartment will be like it is other places.  They are sorely mistaken.  First of all, even if you have the money to pay for a place of your own and you have a full time job here, most landlords will not rent to you right away (again, I’ll post more on this subject in a different post).  Which brings us back to having to sublet (usually furnished) an apartment.

If you find yourself in this situation, the smartest thing you can do is to look for a place to store furniture.  This in itself can be very tricky and you’ll find that commercial storage rental places are extremely expensive and work differently than other places (for example, the United States).  They often won’t have anything reasonable available and tend to rent the storage space to you in a leasing manner (for a year or so) or in many cases, they want to sell you the storage space (some people purchase the storage space and then rent it out monthly).  Basically, this isn’t a popular option for most people.

You will have better luck going one of two routes.  The first option is to find someone who is renting a house or an apartment that has a garage that they don’t need.  You can often rent a garage for around 50 or 60 Euros a month.  This option will take you some research and time to find (again, another post can be dedicated to this subject later on).  The second option is to find someone who has either rented a storage space in their apartment complex or has access to one as part of their apartment.  For example, in the last sublet we lived in, storage units were rented out individually.  All of them were taken, but we were able to rent a storage space from another renter for a two month period.  And if all else fails, ask around.

So let’s say that you’re either moving from one apartment to another or you just need to haul something.  There are people with smaller moving vans that will load and unload items for you for an hourly rate.  A good source for this is EBay Classifieds (go to and choose EBay Classifieds; if you don’t speak German, make sure you’ve installed an automatic translator, like Google Translate, so that you can translate the page).  You’ll find a lot of choices in varying price ranges for furniture pickup and also moving.

If you have a little bit more money to spend, you also have the option of hiring a professional moving company to come in, pack up your place and move you.  You can save a little bit of money by packing everything yourself and having it ready for when they get there.  These companies will also disassemble and reassemble furniture for a fee.  There are websites where you can plug in information about your move in order to receive bids for this service, but we looked into this when we were moving and found it to be too expensive.  Just to give you an idea of what I mean, we said we were moving a 100 square meter apartment and that everything would be packed and ready to go, as well as all furniture disassembled, and the cheapest price we received was for around 600 Euros with tax.

The other way you can move a household or pickup items is to rent a vehicle.  The good news is that Germany makes it very easy for you to rent a car, truck or van, even if you don’t have a license to drive in Germany.  Moving truck rentals vary and everyone told us to use a place called Turtle, and though they were cheaper than Europcar, we had the best luck with SIXT.  We were able to rent a 12’ moving truck for around 80 Euros for 24 hours, including full coverage insurance.  The catch here is that you’ll have to have someone who has the right license drive it.  We were lucky enough to have a friend who still had an older German license, which meant he could drive trucks this big.  Otherwise, you can go with one size smaller and anyone can drive it, including you.  My boyfriend does not have a license at this time, but because he had a license in the U.S. at one time, SIXT provided him a temporary driving permit that allowed him to drive the truck during our rental.

With gas and paid help, we were able to move everything in one day for around 175 Euros total.  If we hadn’t been so rushed, we would not have had to pay for so much help and could have taken our time in loading and unloading the truck and it would have been closer to 100 Euros.

The nice thing about SIXT is that you can request a truck online without having to put any money down.  You can make a tentative reservation online and add on the drivers, etc. and pay in-person when you pick up the truck as long as you bring the reservation number from the email.

The final thing I’ll touch on here is boxes.  Moving boxes are very expensive here.  One friend told us that anytime friends or family are getting rid of moving boxes, her parents take them and store them for later use.  You can expect to pay around 5 Euros per box if you buy them in the store.  If you look for sales, you may get them cheaper.  People typically sell them (again, EBay Classifieds) for about 1 Euro a piece (used boxes).  We asked the grocery store outside of our last sublet for boxes and were also given several boxes from a friend.  Between these two free options, we were able to acquire between 40 and 50 boxes for moving.  The other thing to consider is that most moving boxes are very big, so boxes from the store can sometimes be better for dishes, etc.  Otherwise, you can only fill the boxes up partially.

Hopefully this information helps some of you out.  We spent the first 7 months or so living in a furnished sublet.  We had limited space to work with, but did acquire a bed for our daughter and a small loveseat-sized couch.  We then moved into another sublet that was a little bigger for three months.  We purchased a lot of the furniture from this sublet, but still needed more furniture to complete an apartment.  Once we had a rental agreement in place and knew how big our apartment was going to be, we began searching for inexpensive or free items online.  A friend helped us pick these items up and we spent two months filling up a storage building in preparation for our move.

We found that SIXT was the cheapest way to go for truck rentals in Frankfurt.

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