Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Have you ever watched “What Not To Wear”? After deciding to put herself in the hands of “professional stylists”, a woman spends two days shopping in New York City for new clothes on a budget provided by the TV show. Needless to say, the budget for our interior renovations are not provided by a TV show… but in many ways, our experience has been similar these past two days.

On day one, we sallied forth to begin our “shopping process” – and ended up exhausted, overloaded, and wondering what the heck we were doing! On day two we awoke optimistic, rallied, and ended up feeling positive about the experience. Time will tell whether or not this is reality!

Parked at RV RenovatorsWe arrived at RV Renovators in Mesa, AZ, around 3:30 pm on Monday. This is a highly recommended, moderately sized RV repair and renovation facility with a tightly jammed parking/work area. Before long, we were settled in amongst the other RV’s with a 50 amp electric cord snaking across the parking lot. Workers bustled around, moving RV’s, large pieces of equipment, and rolling toolboxes from place to place. Lots of movement, generators, noise.

Once settled, we finalized our Master List of “Things to Be Done” (14 items ranging from “replace windshield” to “new knob on the bathroom door”), wandered through the office and customer lounge, met the service manager, and walked a couple blocks to the carpet/fabric/window covering shop he recommended. After scheduling an appointment with the service manager for 8:30 on Tuesday morning, we spent a happy, innocent night in the motorhome.

7:00 to 8:30 Tuesday morning: up and showered, a bit of computer time, breakfast… ready for our 8:30 appointment.

8:30: waiting for the service manager.

8:45: still waiting for the service manager.

9:00: waiting, waiting, waiting… raising our eyebrows, rolling our eyes…

9:15 to 12:45: talk, talk, talk with the service manager. Get an idea of what we have let ourselves in for – YIKES! Talk expenses. Talk budget. Tour a few RV’s looking at recently installed laminate floors and TV cabinet remodels. Get really, really hungry and overloaded with ideas and conversation. Start to crash. Become withdrawn and crabby.

12:45: step back into our own quiet, familiar, lovely, comfortable, almost-paid-for motorhome and realize how much we LOVE carpet – warm, soft, pretty, comfortable, cozy carpet. Eat ham sandwiches; alternately zone out and talk non-stop. Make two or three additional lists. Add more items to Master List.

1:30: walk back to the flooring shop to pick up samples of carpet and rolled vinyl flooring. Ask questions about grades of carpet. Ask questions about vinyl flooring. Ask questions about different kinds of window coverings. Ask how to decide between 879 carpet possibilities. Walk home, remembering things we forget to put on our lists.

3:30: revisit past discussions. Revise our Master List. Refocus on our priorities. Make notes on our individual “to do” lists. Wonder what is on each other’s lists. Wonder what we are forgetting.

4:00: move the motorhome to a vacant piece of blacktop that is near a sewer hookup – it is obvious we will be here for another couple of nights.

4:30: walk back to the flooring shop, exchange carpet samples, ask more questions, forget the answers, look at fabric for new curtains. Discuss possibilities for cockpit curtains.

5:30: eat leftovers found in our refrigerator. Slurp cocktails. Sit quietly. Eat chocolate. Look at our lists. Eat more chocolate. Ponder.

7:30: I fell on the bed, turned on PBS, and drifted off to the soothing monotone of a documentary about… something! Robert E. Lee? John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin? Felt great gratitude for my comfortable bed.

End of Day One.

Day Two:

6:00 am: start whispering to each other about our thoughts during the night. Jump out of bed, all fired up. Make tea. Computer time. Ah, good, a lead on a place to stay (out of the motorhome) during the renovation. Consult our lists. Fire off a couple of emails to keep things moving. Wonder aloud where we will put everything we have to move out of the motorhome.

7:00 am: Showers. Breakfast. Constant chit-chat and reminders.

8:00 am: Consult and combine lists. Highlight those items that are our responsibility – window coverings, carpet selection, TV purchase. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!

9:00 am: try to talk to the service manager, who is on the phone and busy. Walk back to the carpet store, exchange small carpet samples for large ones, smile and say hello to those employees who now recognize us, get samples of possible curtain fabrics.

10:30 am: service manager arrives and we resume discussions. Lots of details. Longer lists. Service manager walks through motorhome, estimating the time needed for each job. Total number of hours: approximately 90. Estimated cost for labor: $9000. Within budget – yay!

11:30 am: leftovers for lunch.

12:00: off to The Blind Company, Inc. to pick up samples for day/night shades and get cost estimate. More education.

12:30: Run through our lists again. Have we done everything critical while still on the lot? YES! Can we put off the remaining decisions until later? YES! Is it warm enough for a hike? YES!

So, we headed off to Usery Mountain Park to see whether they had a site suitable for us to move into tomorrow when we leave RV Renovators parking lot. Maybe, we’ll see. Did a nice hike in the warmest weather we’ve experienced in a several weeks. After a short rest back at home, off to a delicious dinner with Margaret and Ian at the Blue Adobe. Excellent food, excellent company, excellent margarita. Good lead for a one-month rental in their loft building in downtown Phoenix. Everything is looking up.

9:00: Odel hit the sack, and now here I go, too. All this research and decision making is TOUGH stuff!

End of Day Two.


  1. A great rundown of your initial experiences. I really appreciate the emotional side as well as the logistics and am looking forward to hearing out how it all turns out. This won't be anything we have to tackle for years, but it's good to start getting prepared now! Thanks for sharing and GOOD LUCK!

  2. Wow...two very busy days. Glad it looks like things are all coming together on the renovations. Can't wait to see pictures of the finished projects.

  3. man that made me tired....I can only imagine how you two must feel!

    best wishes.....

  4. Sounds like a rough couple of days, but full of excitement, too. Hope you have nice digs for the couple of weeks this might take (I know, I know. But after a "3 day repair" that took almost six weeks, let's say I am dubious of proposed completion dates. Remember this -- in all contracted work you can have it fast, in budget or done right... Pick two.)

    Good luck!

  5. I'm exhausted just reading this ... you must have been ready to zonk out by the end of day 2.

  6. Sounds like a whirlwind you got yourself caught in there. We are in Usery Mountain, so if you move up here let us know, we'd love to meet you. Site 55.

  7. I'm tired just reading all that. We wish you the best of luck with your remodel--and admire you two for making the decision to remodel. Carpet is nice as RV floors can be cold--our granite floor tile in the bath and kitchen in the new to us motorhome is frigid on cold mornings! We just wish the manufacturer hadn't put carpet right out to the entry door.

  8. I remember days like these, but thank goodness, haven't had any for awhile. Like you always say, Laurie, RV living is still just life, with stresses and BUSY stuff every now and then. Hang in there, because with all those decisions, you know it will be lovely when it's done.

  9. All I can say is WHEW!!!! I am glad your giving us such detail since this is the year we need to have a few things done to Tassie.
    Have fun & Travel Safe

  10. How exciting to be decorating your home again. Remember if laminate floors feel cold, you can add your own flair with throw rugs. Something warm on the pigs, change decor anytime, can move them around and EASY TO CLEAN. Ya I like that last pro! ;) Can't wait to see pics of the different looks you have to choose from. Enjoy! :)

  11. A place called RV Renovations....never knew there was such a thing! It would be fun to work at a place like that...a woman should definitey be advising on the kitchen details!

  12. Have you explored the newer style MCD blinds?

  13. RV Renovators is who we used to repair our back end of the 5er when a pole 'jumped out' at us last year. :-( Tell Monte hello from Bob and Lynda Soady - yeah right so many customers I'm sure he will remember. His house burned down last year at Christmas time. They did great work and I have the tee shirt.

  14. WOW! What a journey already and it's only day 2! We have tile in our living room and kitchen and it gets really really cold. So we cover it with area rugs. Plus it's easier for our 14 1/2 yr old German Shepherd to walk on carpet than tile.

    We have MCD blinds and would not look back to anything else. We love love love them. So easy to raise and lower, with just s flick of the wrist. No light seeping through little holes hitting you just right in the eye. No light what so ever. Nice. Well worth the money. They are easy enough to install yourself too. Just regular shade clips that snap in. Saving that money on installation by doing it yourself makes up for the cost of the shades. Which really are not that unreasonable compared to others out there that are more of a pain to use.

    Good Luck! Can't wait to see pictures.

  15. JB, we made it into Usery this morning. We are in site 59, within view of your rig. We'll try to come by and meet you tomorrow - hopefully, a day of NO commitments!

  16. Janna, I am with you - I wish the cockpit area was tile, rolled vinyl, or even a hard rubber material similar to what they use on the stairs.

  17. We HAVE looked at MCD blinds because so many people mentioned/recommended them. Though I understand the attraction (ease of use, a "day" shade that you can see through, a total blackout night shade), I just didn't like how they looked. Personal opinion! Unlike many people, we don't dislike standard day/night shades - until they get as old as ours and need to be replaced.

  18. I sure hope RV Renovators read your blog on Beaudry RV.
    I'm David, I don't know what a URL is so.....I'm Anonymous

  19. coming along for the reno ride!..I think we had better hang on tight!

  20. Anon David: Ha, ha! Gosh, I had forgotten about Beaudry - what an experience that was! We keep emphasizing to Eddie, the service manager at RV Renovations that getting the work done in the promised time frame is high priority for us... we'll see what happens. So far, we feel good about the place.

  21. This should be very interesting!

  22. Wow sounds like an exhausting day. A great remodel can compensate for a couple arduous days! Keep it up!

  23. I am very interested in hearing how your experience ended, I have used RV Renovators in the past. Hope your experience was a good one!