To build, or not to build…

As we complete month five of full-time RVing, Al and I discuss the pros and cons of this lifestyle.  Yes, there are indeed cons but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.   Aside from all the beautiful scenery we encounter, I’d say the social aspect to this lifestyle is one of the biggest pluses.

In the past five months we’ve visited with fellow bloggers, fellow Escapee members, friends, RV Park neighbors, and family.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed:  three-hour lunches with folks we’ve just met, a little impromptu gals day of coffee – shopping, reconnecting with folks we haven’t seen in a year, and get togethers with family.  Don’t misunderstand; we manage plenty of down time as well.  Somehow, we’ve discovered a nice balance.

When meeting new folks, the conversation inevitably leads to the normal questions one would expect …..

  1. Where have you lived?
  2. Where are you going / plans?
  3. Questions about children and family?
  4. Are you retired or working?
  5. What kind of work have you done?

Ah, yes…  I wouldn’t say we’re retired, but I would say we’re taking a break.  The economy and lending practices kind of knocked the wind out of our sails so to speak.  Although Al and I both have diverse backgrounds, when we’re asked what we used to do for a living?  We respond, “We used to own our own company in Home Building”.

It was a business I loved and would have continued for several more years if…..well, I don’t need to spell it out.  So, we closed our doors and hit the road.  But the question keeps coming up, “Would you go back into home building again?”  The answer is yes AND no.  So I guess you could say that’s a clear maybe.Noahs Ark

Perhaps this might clarify my indecision……

In the year 2012, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in America and said, “Once again, the earth has become wicked and over populated and I see the end of all flesh before me.  Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans.”Noahs Ark

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, “You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.”noahs ark

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard, but no Ark.  “Noah!” He roared, “I’m about to start the rain!  Where is the Ark?”  Forgive me, Lord,” begged Noah, “but things have changed.  I needed a building permit.  I’ve been arguing with the Boat Inspector about the need for a sprinkler system”.

“My neighbors claim that I’ve violated the neighborhood by-laws by building the Ark in my backyard and exceeding the height limitations.  We had to go to the local Planning Committee for a decision.”

“Then the local Council and the Electricity Company demanded a shed load of money for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark’s move to the sea.  I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear none of it”.

“Getting the wood was another problem.  There’s a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the Greater Spotted Barn Owl.  I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls – but no go!”spotted owl

“When I started gathering the animals the ASPCA took me to court.  They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will.  They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space”.

“Then the Environmental Agency ruled that I couldn’t build the Ark until they’d conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood”.

“I’m still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I’m supposed to hire for my building crew.  The Immigration Department is checking the visa status of most of the people who want to work”.

“The Trade Unions say I can’t use my sons.  They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience”.  To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I’m trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species”.

“So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark”.

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky.

Noah looked up in wonder and asked, “You mean you’re not going to destroy the world?”

“No”, said the Lord.  “The Government beat me to it”.


So, do I want to return to an industry I love?  Absolutely.  But will I?  Hum, I ponder…… Government Agencies have made Home Building so difficult and cost prohibitive for the little guy, they’ve sucked the fun out of it…… so maybe!

Photos in today’s post borrowed from the internet


76 thoughts on “To build, or not to build…

  1. So clever and true! You could say the same thing about practicing medicine as a solo physician in America now too. Thanks for sharing and best of luck in what ever you do next.

  2. Great post Ingrid! I hope for all our sakes that the economy turns around so that there are more options available for everyone. Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

      • At some point when we get beyond this and I have some time to myself, I will send you an email on the whole experience! It will not be in our futures either and Terry is disliking it just as much as me, imagine that! 😉

  3. Take your time and enjoy – I remember reading about your plans before you went on the road. The government creates more work than is really necessary. It takes courage to do what you are doing – you inspire me for what my life might or could look like in 15 years… It’s a a vision to work towards. Watching the Bronco game – I am at turnover #3 – ridiculous! Go Broncos!

  4. Love your perspective and storytelling abilities. At one time we poured over $5,000 of money we could ill afford to just subdivide a building lot off of our 5 acres. The last straw was the township saying we had to have some study done to show that a sinkhole wouldn’t open up. We had to walk away. So totally understand your reservations and frustrations. The nomadic lifestyle is a great way to go …..for those of us who think outside the box of life….

    • Oh, how very frustrating that had to be for you. Yeah, whenever I think of the red tape, building is the last thing I want to do. We’re still trying to figure out the finance thing though because I don’t see myself winning the lottery anytime soon especially since I don’t play LOL. We’re keeping busy searching on the outside of that box 🙂

  5. I am still trying to talk MacGyver into just trying full-time for one year…not selling the house, just getting someone to “watch it ” for a while…You are so on spot about the red tape and government rules…Tell Al that the State of Illinois has plans to widen Rt 34 to 4 lanes, and somewhere 5, right through town…This includes tearing down many businesses and homes…BOO! HISS!! “They paved paradise, to put down a parking lot”…grimace.

    • Al was wondering if that would ever happen to Rt 34….shame. The best of both worlds are trips out and back. We would have kept our house if it were located in a place we wanted to stay…. it ceased to feel like ‘home’, thus time to move on. We’ll find another place to put down roots, just don’t know where yet….guarantee NOT Illinois LOL.

  6. Great post, thankful we did our major renovation in ’97 before things got too crazy in VT, where now everyone wants a say in what you do with your property.

    • Yes, lucky timing for your renovation. What floors me, is things got more ridiculous when housing was hurting the most. It’s like everyone had too much time on their hands and had to justify their jobs…..errr!

  7. I LOVE this … well, actually, I hate that it is true. As we do a small “enclose the patio” project, I am astounded at all the hoops we have to jump through. Discouraging, for sure!!

    • Thanks. Sometimes additions and remodels are worse than new and yes it can be very discouraging AND ridiculous. Good luck with the patio project…..perhaps you’ll share before and after photos 🙂

  8. Wow now there are a few home truths just surfaced, but I just love the way you did it… brilliant, makes one really wonder if the return would be worth it or not… Linda and I are already thinking twice about the Motorhome, as to whether we could live like that for the rest of our lives… fortunately the house is not sold yet so we still have time to ponder the decision…

    • I respect folks that jump in and go for it, BUT I am glad we sampled this lifestyle last winter before jumping in. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns. It’s still life and because we didn’t sink a lot of $$$ into a motorhome we can still afford to go back into the housing market (although I still don’t miss the house 🙂 ) Perhaps you might consider something used and small that would work for trips one to four weeks and then return to a house. That was our original plan. Our 5th wheel was never purchased with the idea of moving into full-time. Baby steps….there’s no perfect way 🙂

  9. Your pic and text reminded me of a bumper sticker I saw a few years ago. It was on the back of a well used pick up truck, in a small town along the Oregon Coast (logging country) .
    “Save a Tree, Wipe your Butt with a Great Spotted Barn Owl”

    • It’s not uncommon to take four to eight weeks for approvals just to get the permit. Some locals even longer. That’s the part of the business I didn’t like….dealing with all the red tag. There are days I miss the creating and days I don’t 😕

  10. I agree about this being both funny and sad at the same time. I really enjoyed the humor in it, though. It is so sad what is happening to basically kill off small businesses these days. I hope you have the opportunity to pursue your business again sometime, if you choose to do so. If not, I hope a new opportunity presents itself soon as well. 😉

    • Thank you. I had gotten burned out on the business so I needed a break but I would have preferred to choose the time instead of the economy deciding for me. Oh well, they say the economy is improving so we’ll see 🙂

  11. Ingrid, a very funny post, but so very sad also. It is a shame what is happening in our country today – in all industries. Government rules and regulations are killing businesses, competition, the work ethic, employment, etc. I hope, when the time comes and if you want to open a business again, you will have an opportunity to do it. America needs people like yourselves.

    • Makes one wonder 😉 Unfortunately, I’m afraid the younger generation will not have the opportunities our generation had when it comes to starting a business, etc. I hope I’m wrong!

    • You know first hand….change is not always easy but can be rewarding. I went to the dentist last week and couldn’t help but think of you…

  12. Good luck with whatever choice you land on. The process of homebuilding as an independent seems pretty daunting. Our neighbour across the street just designed an built a home — and the process took forever. I thought it was because of our location (we are on Lake Ontario, and surrounded by protected park lands) — but it seems that regardless location, it’s a grind, surrounding by red tape. 😦

    • For an owner-builder it’s far more difficult than for us doing it daily. We usually know the ‘red tape’ and the folks causing it and dealing with nearby protected lands does add difficulty. Hope it all turned out well for your neighbor and he’s enjoying a beautiful home 🙂

  13. I was in real estate before the housing bubble burst, so I can definitely relate! One thing that you left out though, the local zoning officials changing their minds (or what passes for a mind) and yanking the approval they granted after the wheels of a project have started turning.

    • Aw….. then yes you can totally relate. I like that “what passes for a mind”. There’s too many folks in a decision making role that have no clue what they are talking about or the ultimate impact their decisions have. We had one council woman who proposed all kinds of addition fees on developers/builders and then complained about why we weren’t building “affordable” housing…..dah!

  14. My, you have so many surprise talents…what a fun post! We sure dont know what obstacle to jump over next do we! I bet you designed some beautiful homes! Yesterday we toured a bigger home…but is this our thing? Jury still out as we too remember leaving a few things we really loved doing. Guess time will tell…until then what a sweet ride we’re on 🙂

    • I’d like to think I designed and built some beautiful homes…lol. FYI…..keep in mind, you guys are still in the ‘healing’ phase – don’t underestimate. It can be an emotional rollercoaster and your new journey can be positive and negative at the same time; speaking from experience!

  15. Love the Noah references. How our good intentions can definitely go to wrong directions! I say flip a coin. 😛 And the real Shakesperean question is … Will you be able to still have time to blog if you go back to your old passion? 😆

    • Yes, I’m definitely enjoying but also learning what I like and what I don’t. Right now, I’m not ready to stay in one spot more than a month and in some cases more than a week….love the house on wheels.

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