Monthly Archives: August 2017

Early Research

Virginia and I spent part of the afternoon at Motor Home Specialist in Alvarado yesterday. The first lesson of RVs is that none of the dealers are very close to town. For example, Alvarado is literally on the other side of Venus (but Venus has a Whataburger). The second lesson is that dealerships are big – especially if they have a decent selection. This is the first dealership for anything I’ve ever visited that will lend you a golf cart to get around. 

You trade your drivers license for the key to a golf cart (it will start any of the guest golf carts) and you are then released to wander the 160 acres. This is truly low-pressure sales (and a show of great faith.) The RVs are all open – you can wander in, turn on the A/C if it’s not already on, open the cabinets, turn on the TVs and lie in the beds. The only request is that you not test the toilets, which seems reasonable.
We wandered around until heatstroke threatened, but we learned quite a bit. For example, I may be a bit large for a Class C. So, we’re looking mostly at Class As. Now, Virginia is concerned about the driving. That’s for another weekend.

Our RV Specs So Far

  • Table & Chairs. Much like asking for a table rather than a booth when we go to restaurants, I either need movable chairs or to lose some weight. Movable chairs seem easier to accomplish.
  • Washer & Dryer preferred – maybe not a deal-breaker, but the ability to do laundry in-house (even minimal loads) would be nice.
  • Square shower – there are some long, thin showers available. We are not supermodels.
  • Oven – a requirement for an Italian. I’m grateful she’s not asking for two.
  • Side & Rear Cameras – we need to see what we’re about to hit.
  • Auto-leveling – why do manually what a machine can do?
  • Toad-ready – we will need a car eventually.
  • Two (or more) AC units – this was easily proven by looking at RVs in Texas in August.
  • Bed over cab would be more useful than bunks, from a space-utilization standpoint
  • Bunkhouse non-optimal – it takes up space that we need for dog crates. This can’t be a unique requirement. 
  • King Bed preferred – did I mention we’re not supermodels?
  • Three slides – although this is a Virginia requirement. I just want enough room, and I’m not hung up on how you get it.
  • Full-side slide preferred – this is probably going to solve my room issues.
  • Leather furniture – cheap protection against the dogs. We learned this in the house.
  • Doggie window preferred – really, we need three. I’m sure the dogs won’t bark at everything. Maybe this is optional.
  • Bath 1/2 preferred – two baths is probably overkill. One may not be enough.
  • Distinct areas preferred – in spite of the open floor plan movement, having spaces that can be closed off would give the dogs separate spaces.


As newbies, there are many questions we have. (The ones that concern me most are the ones we don’t have yet.) The one that came up early was – do we need a toad?

In this case, it’s not a frog’s cousin, it’s a small vehicle that is towed behind the RV, so you have local transportation when you get to a stopping point.

If you don’t have a toad, then every time you want to go somewhere not in the RV park, you have to disconnect everything and drive away. Then, you get back and have to reconnect everything.

This is a pain.

However, to me, adding a few extra feet and a tow vehicle behind a rather long vehicle already can also be a pain.

So, I asked for advice on a Facebook group – where else would I go?

“Hey, can I survive without a toad?”

I got three answers.

Yes. No. It depends.

Well, that pretty much settles it.

Of course, the other option is to buy a truck and just pull a trailer.

So, question one is still open.

Still Retired

It turns out that I wasn’t really permanently laid-off from IBM. I had been there so long, I “retired.” Unfortunately, I was not planning to retire this early, and so the job search continues. 

It’s interesting trying to do something that should be an intimate, personal experience all online, with no immediate feedback, but so it goes. 

You don’t talk to people first any longer. Most of the time, you don’t talk to people at all. You fill in forms, upload resumes, and hope to hit enough keywords to get to the next level. Even if you don’t get to a human, you can get rejected after a couple of months. So, you can’t just send in an application and wait and see. You have to fill your pipeline of rejection.

Here’s a question – if your resume doesn’t get past the computer scanner, how does that take two months to tell you? Aren’t computers fast? The ones I used to have were, and they were old.

I’ve submitted over 250 applications at this point. I’ve had less than a handful of actual, personal replies. 

At a company I really wanted to join, I was told on my second interview that I wasn’t technical enough. I think he meant “you know IBM technology, instead of ours”, but I may be trying to justify it. 

Another “almost” was a phone call two months after the application, “Are you still interested in the job?” I said that I was most interested, so I was invited to a in-person team interview. I survived, I thought. There was someone leaving when I arrived, so I expected an offer or “We’re going with someone else.” After hearing nothing, I sent a follow-up note, and the reply said, “We just had a reorganization, so we’re not opening a center in Arlington, after all.” (I will not miss two hours of driving each day, but still.) 

The most painful (even more than “you’re not technical enough “) was applying to a firm where I had a friend on staff, which seemed to help. I had a pre-screen and was quickly invited to an interview with one of the managers. After I called the recruiter (who had never called with results), here’s what I was told: “The manager who interviewed you grades all his interviews. He gave you an “A.” He never gives people an “A.” Unfortunately , we had some changes on the team, so the position was filled.” So, at least that was close.

Most don’t bother to reply, at all. 

I had two calls with a corporate recruiter just before I left on vacation, and then, radio silence. This would be the same job I was doing before I retired. No reply.

I had an interview I scheduled during my vacation to meet the interviewer’s schedule, and I thought it went well, but now the manager and the recruiter won’t answer me. I would like to at least be told there was a re-org.
It’s almost like dating. Unfortunately, I never needed to date to pay my expenses. (That is the one industry I haven’t considered.)

On the happy side, I will be a guest educator for Enriched Schools, it’s part-time but I’m looking forward to teaching (even as a substitute) in the Fall. So, technically, I did get a job.

I just need something to do in the meantime, to fill the hours and the bank account.