What Have We Been Up To Over The Holidays?

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First Tow With The New Truck | Tracy Marie Lewis | www.stuffnthingz.com

Boy oh boy did it get busy after my birthday!

I made all the Christmas gifts as it is the first time in three years we've been home for the holidays. I made groupings of cards to give, used my no cut no measure gift bag making technique to create cute bags to hold them ( - My  [Video] - Length 25 Min 14 Sec ). Of course everyone also received handmade snowglobe shaker cards. It was alot of work but was worth it!

In between holiday celebrations we worked on a rental rehab. We did lots of shopping as this unit needed alot of updates. As a landlord, we don't get into units very often, in this case 14 years. When we do get in, we swap out everything that is old or at risk of hitting its end of life in the next five years. This was a total makeover. We'd been waiting for the tenant's to move out for seven years! Our PM scheduled paint, flooring, countertops and a couple of other odds and ends as these are tasks we are not well equipped to handle.

We did all the demo, floor removal and paint prep and put everything back together after the contractors had completed their work. Whoever owned this property before us did zero masking when they painted and they were super sloppy. Paint was everywhere it shouldn't be. It took tons of elbow grease and Goof Off to clean off this paint (think white paint on the electrical, wood, fireplace etc.) We like our units to look nice and crisp, not sloppy. The task list included things like replacing the bathroom lighting, all blinds, one broken wall heater, worn outlets and switches, a toilet, one vanity and the kitchen sink. The garage was missing parts and pieces and the springs were sprung. Hub has mastered rebuilding garage doors! Our PM bought white appliances to match the fairly new white refrigerator which we picked up and installed.

We have learned not to buy the cheapest of something for a rental. It is more important to evaluate an items longevity and durability for the price. For instance, a kitchen sink can be purchased for $69 but it is onely 6" deep, already has stain marks on the very light colored questionable metal and is 23 guage (very thin). prices go up at about $10 per quality step up. We settled on $109, 8" deep, 20 guage, with a "normal" stainless steel look. I read reviews to help determine the best price point. I spend many hours at night researching the best materials to purchase. Hub and I will still debate something as we stand there deciding between two or three options. The vanity we chose was not what would go best with the decor of the home, but rather what will withstand the test of time. It is sturdy and white. I know all the new trendy dark wood vanities look cool, but also know they will become nicked up and because of the light weight materials, they won't last. 

Our camping strategy when in our home area is to stay at Thousand Trails twenty one days then move to a different Thousand Trails for another twenty one, rinse and repeat. We like LaConner and Mount Vernon the best because of their location, but we have stayed at Thunderbird (Monroe) and Birch Bay as well. Unfortunately the timing of our twenty one day move was right in the middle of holiday festivities, so, we paid for a full month to move after Christmas. The monthly rate at Mount Vernon is not bad at $495 all inclusive. Hub loves to save our pennies so he thought it was expensive given it only gained us one more week. When the holidays came around, and we could focus on the rehab and family visits, he was grateful. 

Our new truck required a break in period before we could tow with it. After hitting the minimum tow miles, we made a test run. We didn't perform a test run with the brown truck and suffered because of it. The fifth wheel hitch is the same one we put on the brown truck so we were comfortable with the hookup and all systems appeared to work. Hub took it on the freeway heading north as there's a rest area only 4 miles up. He reported that it traveled great. I stayed at our site in the old truck ready to help should an emergency arise. 

Moving day was the 27th and this time I drove while hub followed in the old truck. It drove like a dream. This truck has all of the towing bells and whistles including a cargo camera for hitching up, air bags, an exhaust brake and a very powerful engine/transmission.

We are excited to have rehabbed our final untouched unit and now we have our "forever" truck so should be good to go on another long adventure very soon!

First Hook Up With The New Truck | Tracy Marie Lewis | www.stuffnthingz.com


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