Tag: money

A Single Baby Boomer Survives Hurricane Michael

A Single Baby Boomer Survives Hurricane Michael


Residents of the Florida Panhandle say that hurricanes are the price we pay for living in Paradise.  Most of the time we don’t give hurricanes much thought.  We buy water and supplies just in case we lose power and water but we forget or ignore what other hurricanes have done.  We send money to those affected by the storms but don’t believe it’ll ever happen to us.  We’ve seen the effects of Global Warming and heard the dire warnings but we live in denial.  Then it hits.

For video go to https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/10/10/hurricane-michael-orig-acl.cnn/video/playlists/hurricane-michael/


I’d given up watching the news for the weekend because of all of the gut-wrenching testimony in the Kavanagh hearing.  My doctor had even suggested that I may have anxiety issues affecting my sleep so when a phone call from my friend woke me up on Monday before Hurricane Michael I was surprised the hear we were in its path.  We debated what we would do and decided to go to a town an hour north since she could stay with a relative there.  My other friends were smarter and headed west.



The morning of Hurricane Michael when I awoke at 10 am there was a message saying that her kids had made her leave much early.  I decided to stay put since it was getting too late to outrun the fast-moving storm that had been upgraded to a possible Category 5 Hurricane when it hit the Panhandle.  It hit my hotel as a Category 2, but my town, Panama City, was right in the path.  After a night alone with my cat, I discovered there was still no power or cell service.  I started out to look for gas. Gas was not to be found but I got cell service farther west and was able to book a room in Montgomery, AL.  I decided I had to turn around and not waste any more gas.  A gentleman gave me a cooler for my ice and another told me that I could call on him for help.  Since Panama City was in turmoil and they weren’t letting anyone back.  Tired and frightened I drove toward Alabama with my cat and was thrilled to see the lights on at a gas station so I could fill up.  Exhausted from lack of sleep for three nights, I pulled into Montgomery and was thrilled to find the comfortable Drury Inn that allowed my cat to stay and even gave me free dinner, drinks, and breakfast.  It was full of refugees from Hurricane Michael.

A ballgame with some of my family relieved the stress.

The next day kitty and I were back on the road on our way to Chattanooga where I was fortunate to find a relative who had room for my cat and me.  I spent a week visiting with my family since I couldn’t get back to my condo and then I was lucky enough to have a friend who was going out of town and would let us stay in her home.  She was glad to have someone there since there were looters roaming the area.  Panama City Beach, where she lived, just got the edge of the storm so her house was unharmed.  I’ll never be able to repay her enough for her generosity.   Later my owners let me stay in their RV near Dothan, AL.  I was thankful to have a place to stay that was much better than most displaced people.

Two months later when I finally was able to go back to my condo on St. Andrew’s Bay.  After the hurricane we had a boat in our yard, a filthy pool, windows smashed and trees snapped in half.  We didn’t get power for two weeks and then big dehumidifiers sucked out the moisture to avoid black mold and raised the temperature to over 100 degrees.  The elevator didn’t work for almost a month but we were still some of the lucky ones.

There’s a boat in my yard.


Our carports


Most of my bedroom and closets on my bed.


Hall ceiling




If you look at the photos of my neighborhood, The Cove, you’ll see the devastation even after several weeks of clean-up.   Mexico Beach and Tyndall Air Force Base were virtually blown away.  Every time I went back to my condo I took a different route and each time my stomach was queasy by the time I got there.  There were houses with trees through their roofs that FEMA considered livable.  My FEMA inspector told me of a 90-year-old woman sitting in a destroyed home with her two developmentally delayed adults grandsons.  He called a crisis center to help them.  New parents went two hours away to deliver their baby and came back to a shelter.  They said it was so bad they decided to stay in their truck in a Walmart parking lot.  Security found them and got them a room for two weeks where employees were staying.  One of those security guards gave me a hug in a DQ when I thanked them for coming from their home states to help us.  There was an enormous police presence.  State Troopers were everywhere to help.  Restaurants served disaster workers and victims food.  There were food and supply stations set up in many areas.  Youth and other volunteers groups came in from all over North America. The lady who worked at the destroyed lab where I have my blood tests gave me her cell phone number in case I needed a blood test.  Power companies sent workers from all over the U.S.   I’ve never seen so many people offering services to those in need.  FEMA helped many people but people are still waiting for help.  Finally, some of the promised trailers arrived. A retired couple without insurance got $3000 for their destroyed mobile home that was worth $30,000+.  Tent cities sprung up in parking lots and parks. One was later bulldozed after the CDC was called when a bacterial infection broke out.  The victims were taken by bus to shelters in other cities or left to find another place to stay.  Three power workers were killed by a car while repairing power lines.  In one community it took residents five days to cut their way out to help.  Where I live in the Cove a few blocks from Panama City it took four days.  Sick people had to be airlifted out.  One of our hospitals was so damaged only a quarter of it will reopen so 800 people are laid off.  Five hundred people lost their jobs when the mall closed.  The schools reported 3,800 students are homeless.  Eighty percent of buildings are destroyed or severely damaged.  Seventy-five percent of the trees are lost.  There were forty-five storm-related deaths.  These are just a few of the sad stories I heard. 



There are people who will say that those in excavation zones should have left.  I’m among them but I still feel their pain and understand they may have had good reasons for staying.  Some just waited too long expecting Michael to turn or downgrade like Hurricane Harvey and were told the day of the hurricane it was too late to go.  Most of us, like me, didn’t go far enough away because we wanted to get back to clean up after the storm.

3 weeks after the hurricane in Cove


Downtown Panama City


So many roofs damaged.


Boats were blown against the drawbridge.


Debris in Panama City Marina


Panama City Marina


Pulling boats out of the bayou


Retrieving boats from the Bay


The sea surge moved sidewalks


Torn out by the roots by the wind


This is what’s left of someone’s home.

Soon the volunteers will be gone and we’ll be on our own like the victims of Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Florence and others.  We’ll be better off than the people in Puerto Rico but we have years of rebuilding ahead of us.  Since the beach was spared, tourism will flourish there again but our businesses and marinas just a few miles away are in ruins.  Panama City has more residents in lower socio-economic groups who’ll have to wait for help that may not come and so like the victims of Hurricane Katrina will leave.  Some can’t come back and businesses that are up and running are closing early and looking for workers.  Who will fill those jobs?  School didn’t start until November 12th so there’ll be much to make up before the useless but required standardized testing.  All of these and many other things are results of Hurricane Michael and there will be more to come.

These smiles show hope for the Florida Panhandle’s recovery.


Christmas decor and winter flowers with a fire pit in the back.

So remember when you see a natural disaster in the media and then the next news cycle comes up with a new story, the survivors are still suffering and need your help.


Thank you to all of you who have helped us.  We appreciate it and will remember how you cared for us.  The people of the Florida Panhandle will pay it forward when a disaster hits others.  As the saying goes, you can make lemonade out of lemons as I did from lemons I found on a downed tree.  I believe we’ve learned a lot that will help us in the future.


Continue the adventure!

Linda Lea

Single Baby Boomers Need a Goal

Single Baby Boomers Need a Goal

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the synonyms of goal as “aim, ambition, aspiration, bourne (also bourn), design, dream, end, idea, ideal, intent, intention, mark, meaning, object, objective, plan, point, pretension, purpose, target…”  Your goal may change during different stages of your life and at times you may have more than one.  Your family, environment, job, health and religious beliefs can all influence what you consider your purpose in life.  You want to be true to yourself, but life has a way of interfering with your plans.  Perhaps you face a health issue and need to rethink your objectives for the future.  You can’t continue working or must rely on others for assistance after a life of independence.  You need to readjust your goals to fit in with your circumstances and ability to do what you need to do.  If you’ve been living life taking care of others, you may now need to focus on yourself.


Your physical, cognitive, and mental health depend on you having something to look forward to.  It doesn’t have to be a world-saving goal, just one that makes you get out of bed every morning and look forward to the day.  Some people make some sort of appointment or find an activity to get them out of the house.  If you’re still working and hate your job you may need something that gives you a lift each day like a walk at lunch time so you can enjoy the fresh air, relieve your stress and get some exercise.




Your purpose needs to be something that will improve your life in some way.  It can still be helping other but you should get something out of it like a sense of pride or well-being.  These are intangible rewards and sometimes you need something tangible.  I plan trips to help me achieve my goal of visiting all of the places I want to see before travel becomes difficult.  It’s not the only goal I have in life, but when I’m feeling down or bored, it brightens my day.

Here’s how even this small goal benefits me.

  • It keeps my mind active by researching the places I want to visit, airfares, accommodations and things to see and do while I’m there.


  • I keep engaged with family and friends. Planning a trip to visit them is one way to accomplish this, but I also like to take them with me. Sometimes we stay at my timeshare and other times we take a tour or cruise.  When I have a question I can’t find an answer to on my own or want the opinion of someone else, I call someone I know who’s been there or used a service like Uber or Airbnb.


  • I also make new contacts when I ask for help or information. At the moment I’m planning a tour with a tour planner for a trip to England where some of my favorite mystery writers got their inspiration for such fascinating characters as Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Inspectors Morse and Lewis.  You can find out more about it on my Single Boomer Life Facebook Page.




  • I develop new interests. Every time I start planning a trip I get side tracked while I’m doing research.  I try to keep my mind open to ways I can make the trip more interesting and I explore new areas I find on related websites.  The plan for the British mystery writers trip was born out of the desire to write a novel of my own, my love of British mystery novels and TV crime shows in addition to my desire to explore London, Oxford, Devon and Cornwall.  I was watching a video about Agatha Christie’s home when I found it was near Port Isaac, the setting of my favorite TV show Doc Martin.  I couldn’t find any tours that went everywhere I wanted to go and I wasn’t too keen on learning how to drive on the left side of the road, so I decided to plan one myself.  This opened up many new avenues to research.




  • It keeps me positive and looking ahead to a bright future full of adventure.


  • When the time for the trip arrives I’ll have a sense of accomplishment from seeing my plan come together.  I’ll also get to meet new people and explore the places I’ve read about and seen on TV and in movies.


  • When I finish the trip I’ll have the memories of a new and exciting adventure. I feel experiences are more valuable to me than material goods.  They never go out of style or break. As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”


This is a short term goal, but it’ll keep me entertained and engaged for over a year.  In the meantime, I have goals I want to work toward in other areas such as finding my ancestors in Italy, spending more time with my grandchildren and getting healthy and fit.  My goals change often, but I make them attainable and if I tire of them or just cannot meet them, I move on.  I don’t want to wallow in the fact I didn’t achieve them.  I just make new ones.  I may come back to the old plans when the time is right, but I leave the door open to new ideas and dreams.




Travel may not be your dream but you can apply this principal to any goal.  The point is to find what interests you and set a goal to achieve.  Give yourself a timeline and date of completion. It keeps you motivated and accountable.




Continue the adventure!


Linda Lea




Single Baby Boomers Living in Small Spaces – Tree Houses

Single Baby Boomers are often willing to take chances.  For some it may mean changing professions, traveling to distant locales, starting new hobbies or even living in unique places.  Some have decided to take to the trees, not just for an off-beat vacation, but full-time.


Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Tree House-Treehouse Masters
Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Tree House-Treehouse Masters


Baby Boomer, Pete Nelson, who’s been described as the tree whisperer, is a world-renowned treehouse designer, builder and host of the Animal Planet show Treehouse Masters. His team of craftsmen, which includes his son, Charlie, create incredible homes and businesses in nature’s canopy.  He combines science and art to build his clients’ sky-high dreams of magnificent multi-bedroom treehouses with elaborate kitchens and bathrooms or smaller, peaceful escapes.  “We awaken that inner child who dreams of living among the trees,” Pete says.  His one-of-a-kind treehouses include a spa retreat, a brewery, a honeymoon suite, an Irish-themed cottage, and an 800-square-foot Texas treehouse with a full bath and flat-screen TV.  Nelson’s catch line “To the trees” on his show heralds the start of each new project as he creates a plan that meets his client’s needs plus offering them options they never thought possible.


Pete Nelson and Crew
Pete Nelson and Crew


To have a home in the trees built by Nelson Treehouse and Supply you can apply to be on the show at https://www.facebook.com/treehousemasters/.  You can get a tour of his famous builds, rent a treehouse for a vacation, book a wedding or another event at Treehouse Point.  It’s located along the Preston-Fall City Road 30 minutes from Seattle, WA in a beautiful forest along the Raging River.


The steps to a Nelson Treehouse built structure are as follows:

Step 1: The Site Visit or Consultation

The team meets your trees, discusses your vision and takes measurements so they can get everything they need to design the treehouse of your dreams.

Step 2: Design and Budget

The information that they gathered during the site visit is transformed into drawings of your unique treehouse. A plan is developed as is an estimate which is based on the client’s budget.

Step 3: The Build

A contract to build a treehouse is signed and construction scheduled.

Cost Breakdown:

Tree houses built by Nelson Company are “custom designed for the unique tree scenario, client’s design aesthetic and the location” according to Nelson. The primary building costs take the following factors into consideration.

  • The height of the treehouse off the ground
  • Access to the project area
  • The time of year (i.e. peak travel season costs, weather, etc.)
  • The number of trees to which it is connected
  • The materials used
  • Freight
  • Logistical costs (e.g. accommodations, plane tickets, car rentals, etc.)
  • Labor

The average starting cost of a 200 square foot custom NT&S built treehouse without plumbing built out-of-state is $180,000 and $150,000 in Washington State.  Custom design fees of $15,000, interior furnishings and any permitting or engineering fees add to the cost of the treehouse construction price.


Z Treehouse-Treehouse Masters
Z Treehouse-Treehouse Masters


Their website added, “if you want amenities like water and/or electricity in your treehouse, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to permit and install the necessary infrastructure (e.g. septic system) that can be accessed by the future treehouse . . . we recommend considering more economical and environmentally friendly options like compostable toilets and grey water sinks.”

They require their treehouses to be permitted and follow engineering codes in most cases.  This can add up to $20,000 to the cost.  The also recommend researching what your local building authorities and any Home Owners Associations  require since they vary in each location.  A permitted, engineered, plumbed treehouse built out-of-state has a base cost of approximately $225,000.00.  See http://www.nelsontreehouseandsupply.com/building.html for more details.


Art Studio Treehouse-Treehouse Masters
Art Studio Treehouse-Treehouse Masters


If you’re considering building your own treehouse without obtaining a building permit, here are some reasons why you should pay the fee and take the time to get one.

  • You want to make sure that you’re obeying zoning laws and abiding by all building codes so you’re not ordered to stop building or tear the structure down in the future.
  • Your neighbors usually won’t be able to stop the construction of your new dream treehouse if they don’t want it in the neighborhood or near their land.


Tree Top Builders, Inc. at http://www.treetopbuilders.net/tree-house-for-everyone/ offers the following suggestions on the different aspects of treehouse construction if you want to build your own.

  • Find the right trees – Examine the species, shape and health of the trees for evidence of insect infestation, disease or decay. Tree care handbooks will help you with the basics, but also ask local long-time residents about which trees are the hardiest in your area or hire a local arborist before starting a project to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your trees.
  • Implement tree friendly construction – If you’re concerned about hurting trees during construction, it may make you feel better to know that the art and science of treehouse engineering has improved a great deal in the last decade. Professional crews now use the expertise of arborists and carpenters to minimize impact and leave trees healthy.  Trees have an amazing ability to compensate for the treehouse’s added weight.  After a few years, the roots strengthen to resist the added strain during wind storms. Trees also grow extra material where the load is attached to the trunk or branch and after many years they grow around almost anything attached to them.  However, if you build your own treehouse be sure to educate yourself in basic tree biology and keep these things in mind.
  • Never girdle a trunk or branch with anything else that won’t expand as the tree grows since that part of the tree will be strangled and eventually die.
  • Don’t attach a treehouse foundation to two trees or limbs because trees sway in the wind and it may snap during a storm. Some professional treehouse builders fix one end of the supporting beams but let the other end float or slide by either suspending the beam with cables or using custom welded sliding brackets.  This allows the treehouse to sway gently in a breeze and move independently of supporting trees.
  • Piercing the bark and living cambium layer of a tree should be done only as necessary. If you put several nails in one place, the tree may compartmentalize the whole area as a single wound causing it to rot.  Use stronger lag bolts rather than a lot of nails. Professionals use strong custom machined steel tree anchors for large treehouses because they’re capable of holding 4,000 to 9,000 pounds.
  • Get help with your treehouse from experts. Getting professional advice at the beginning is a good idea.  Most treehouse construction companies will share their expertise.


Three Story Treehouse-British Columbia, Canada http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-treehouses/
Three Story Treehouse-British Columbia, Canada http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-treehouses/


  • Add options that will make your treehouse livable and aesthetically pleasing. Most treehouses that are full-time homes are located in temperate or warm climates. Even in those areas, you’ll need to insulate your walls, floor, ceiling, water and sewage pipes.  In most areas, you’ll want an HVAC system.  Unless you want to go outside to an outhouse, a bathroom is necessary.  Electricity would be an essential option for most of us.  If mobility may become an issue, then consider a ramp or bridge for easy access.  Windows, skylights and outside entertaining areas remind you that you’re not earthbound.  Jonathan Fairoaks, a certified arborist and professional treehouse builder, said,  “the higher up in the trees you get, and the more surrounded you are by them, the closer to heaven you are.”


Treehouse with ramp-Treehouse Masters
Treehouse with ramp-Treehouse Masters


If you want to try out a treehouse go to https://www.airbnb.com/wishlists/stay-in-a-treehouse to rent a treehouse in one of several scenic locations in the world.


UFO Treehouse-Sweden http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-treehouses/
UFO Treehouse-Sweden http://www.boredpanda.com/amazing-treehouses/


When I sit on my balcony at home, I sometimes find myself watching a bird and thinking about how wonderful it must be to live a life above the ground in the trees.  A treehouse would offer me this view with the added feeling of living in the middle of nature.  It’s a lifestyle some single Baby Boomers may want to consider.  More people than ever are living tiny in the trees.  Will you join them?


Continue the adventure!

Linda Lea


Single Baby Boomers Living in Small Spaces – Motorhomes

Single Baby Boomers Living in Small Spaces – Motorhomes

Some single Baby Boomers feel motorhomes are the best option for living tiny but then there’s the tiny house camp.  Each has their reasons and so let’s discuss motorhomes, why each side might feel they have the better argument and if they can agree on anything.


  1. Cost – If you have a healthy bank account, you may be able to purchase the top or the line Luxury RV like the Marchi Mobile EleMMent Palazzo for $3,000,000 with its hand-cut wooden flooring, marble countertops, and a staircase that leads to the vehicle’s upper deck. The living room design and the interior LED lighting give it the vibe of a top-tier nightclub. A full-length sunroof completes the look. The Palazzo is popular among oil-rich Arab Sheiks who don’t even like to travel too tiny.  However, I doubt that’s in your price range, so let’s look at the more affordable options.


most expensive RV



travel trailers

Class A

If you’re willing to at least spend $50,000 to $150,000 for a Class A motorhome, what you usually think of when you picture an RV, you can get the base model.  Options and upgrades can raise the price to around $800,000.  They can be as long as 45 feet and have multiple slide outs.  They’re the best for full-time RVing, but if it’s only you and you don’t travel with your children, grandchildren or friends often, it’s more room than you need.  With each additional foot of length or pound your gas mileage and maneuverability decrease.  Maintenance, service, and insurance can cost as much as that of a small home.

class a


Image result for Class A RV interior

Photo credit: MillenniumLuxuryCoaches via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Class B

Class B motorhomes are the smallest of the 3 classes. They’re sometimes called camper vans or conversion vans. They often have the appearance of a van, but are larger and have a higher roofline to allow standing.  They’re the least expensive priced at $40,000-$80,000 for a standard model and $90,000-$125,000 or more for luxurious versions.  They’ve fewer options with a wet bath (shower and toilet together) and some have a tiny kitchen area.  They’re made for up to 4 people if you don’t mind being cramped so you wouldn’t want to invite too many guests or make it your primary home.  It can be stored and used as a regular van, offers optimal fuel economy and is easier to drive and park.

class b

class b interior


Class C

This is the second largest of the motorhomes classes.  Built upon a truck or van chassis, class C motorhomes attempt to capture the best of both class A and class B motorhomes. Basic new models go for $50,000 to $85,000 and up to $140,000 for luxury models.  Under 30 feet, they often have an extension over the cab that provides room for a bed, TV or additional storage. It can fit as many as 6 people, but it’s rare it has high-end luxury items due to lack of room.  It’s too big for many garages and some driveways.

class c

Photo credit: Travis Gertz via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

class c int


Travel Trailer

A travel trailer is a hard-sided, non-motorized recreational vehicle typically towed by a pickup truck or van. Travel trailers are 10-40 feet or longer. Inside they may have one large open area or several rooms. The outside varies from a rectangular shape to adaptations like the classic Airstream aluminum “silver bullet,” a teardrop or other aerodynamic designs. Specialized subcategories of RV trailers include fifth wheels and toy haulers.  New travel trailers cost $8,000-$65,000 but average $15,000-$30,000 depending on size, weight, layout, materials, and amenities.  At a minimum, a travel trailer contains a bed, a table (which often converts to a bed), a food prep area and storage. Larger models may include a galley kitchen and small toilet stall or a full kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom and living room.

travel trailertravel trailer int


Photo credit: Steve Walser via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND



Tent Trailer

A tent trailer is considered an entry-level recreational vehicle. Also called a camping trailer, pop-up camper, tent camper or folding camper trailer, it’s basically a tent on wheels with an above-ground floor, built-in beds, a dinette, cooking appliances and other creature comforts. It folds into a lightweight box trailer which can be towed behind the average family vehicle. When folded, the trailer is about 8-18 feet long and 4-6 feet high. When unfolded with the use of a hand crank or hydraulic lift, it provides a canvas or nylon-sided living area that can be up to 32′ long with average-height headroom and can sleep for 4-8 people.  New tent trailers cost $3,000-$7,000 for a basic model with beds, a small dinette area, mini-refrigerator, and some cooking appliances. For example, a refrigerator, awning, and hot water system can be purchased for an additional price.  A larger tent trailer with better cooking appliances, a heater, AC, outdoor shower, portable toilet, cable TV hookup or slide-outs can cost between $8,000 and $20,000.  The most expensive models may have an indoor shower and toilet. It can take 15 minutes to an hour or more to unfold, slide out and crank up a camping trailer.


tent trailerExif_JPEG_422

Photo credit: dwstucke via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

Additional costs

  • A standard ball trailer hitch on the tow vehicle can cost $50-$700, depending on towing capacity, quality of materials and labor costs. The weight of the camping or tent trailer plus all water, fuel, luggage, gear etc. must not exceed the towing capacity of either the tow vehicle or hitch.


  • For a trailer wider than the tow vehicle, extended side view mirrors costing $4-$80 for a pair that clamps onto the existing side mirrors or $150-$450 for permanently installed towing mirrors are required.



  • Motorhome insurance premiums vary significantly depending on value, frequency of usage, location, and company.


  • If you don’t have a space or garage for your RV or trailer, a storage space can cost $20-$100 a month outdoors and $45-$450 a month indoors. RV covers cost $50-$1,200 or more depending on size, materials, and fit.


  • Unlike a tiny home, you may be moving your motorhome often. Class As average about 8-10 mpg.  A typical fuel tank holds 100-150 gallons and lasts 800-1,500 miles. Class B camper vans, which are similar to a standard family van, get 10-25 mpg.  Class C motorhomes average 10 mpg with fuel tanks that hold 25-55 gallons and last for 250-550 miles.  Tires, brakes, and filters wear out in direct proportion to the miles driven. Some Class A motorhome owners recommend having a maintenance/repair fund of $3,000-$5,000 a year, especially if living in the motorhome full time.


  • Like cars, motorhomes start depreciating as soon as they leave the dealership. A well-maintained Class A that’s a few years old can be 20% to 30% below its original purchase price. Prices for used RVs, travel trailers and campers depend on age, mileage, and condition. Tent trailers don’t depreciate as much as the other more expensive RVs, but a well-maintained tent trailer that’s a few years old might cost 20% to 25% less than its original purchase price.  As I mentioned in my previous blog, tiny homes depreciate also unless they’re built on a permanent foundation on the owner’s land. Information found at http://cars.costhelper.com/motor-home-rv.html.

To sum up, if you compare the cost to the tiniest tiny home, a comparable motorhome would be the base model travel or tent trailer.  The midrange basic Class B and Class C models would cost about the same as a midsize tiny home with some upgrades and the base Class A’s cost is comparable to the largest luxury tiny house.  As with tiny houses, all options add to the cost.  If your tiny house is towable, then a larger vehicle may be necessary whereas an RV has its own engine, a travel trailer can often be towed with a standard size truck or van and a tent trailer only needs a car.  However, if you want to unhook the vehicle to go somewhere and improve your gas mileage then you have to consider that.  You may want a car for day trips with your RV, so towing a car is necessary.  Consider renting a motorhome before you buy to weigh the many options available, to see if you can handle set up and how it handles on the road.


rent rv


If these figures still make you nervous, then you might want to either buy a used motorhome and use it as is or renovate it.  Since RVs and trailers depreciate, you can buy them at a substantial discount.  You can repurpose items much as you do in a tiny house and make your motorhome as eco-friendly and homey as you desire.  See how Mariah Pastell renovated her 1960’s Avalon trailer into The COMET (Cost-effective, Off-grid Mobile Eco Trailer) at http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/restored-vintage-comet-camper-cost-effective-mobile-eco-home-mariah-coz-pastell.html.




 2. Location – Close your eyes and imagine your small motorhome parked next to the ocean, a lake, a stream or on the brow on a mountain.  I live where some of these locations are a possibility in a RV parks, but this isn’t                always an option with a tiny house unless you own the land.  RVs and other travel trailers are regulated by                    state and local government agencies and so they can be parked in RV parks.  You can also set up long-term in some RV parks, however, some don’t want older, beat up models.  Some stores, such as Walmart, allow you to park in their parking lot for the night.  Remember to ask permission, leave the area clean and to keep a low                    profile.  You can’t do that with a tiny house.  See more parking ideas at http://www.frugal-rvtravel.com/Overnight-RV-Parking.html.

3. Mobility – I’ve piloted small planes, ultralights, motor and sailboats and driven cars, vans and trucks of varying sizes. I even drove the largest rental moving truck available while towing a car through the Rockies in construction on a rainy day, but I still found pulling my 28-foot travel trailer ranks right up there with flying.  The most difficult part for me was backing it up and moving it into the parking spot.  Unless you’ve experience with a trailer, you’ll find backing is a challenge.  You have to train yourself to forget about the rules that apply to backing other vehicles.  Driving with a swaying trailer on the open, sometimes windy road can also be challenging. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers safety tips for driving with a trailer at http://www.nhtsa.gov/Cars/Problems/Equipment/towing/safety_tips.htm. RVs are easier to maneuver on the road unless you’re towing a car.  Hooking and unhooking it from your vehicle is also a problem.  You need another person to guide you into position.  These same problems apply to a tiny house on wheels.

trailerback up


  1. Set up and sewage – As with tiny houses you move, set up can be difficult. The biggest and most luxurious RVs offer motorized hydraulic jacks to help with leveling your RV and electronic slide outs eliminate the need for muscle power when setting up.  Utilities, if available, are easy to connect, but raw sewage (a euphemism for another word) happens and you need to either set up sewage disposal lines each time you move or go to the RV dump station.  Either way, you have to handle and attach the pipes to the sewage system.  While it’s not difficult, it can be messy and if you’re squeamish, you may want to wear gloves and boots, hold your breath and pray there isn’t any black water left in the outlet tube when you unscrew its cap.  In my opinion, this option is preferable to a compost toilet.



  1. Comfort – While you could be comfortable in either option, even the high-end RV isn’t well insulated. You can heat it to a livable temperature in temperate and warmer climates and cool it in the summer heat, but it takes a great deal of fuel and electricity.  It’s best to stay in warmer climes in the winter and search for cooler locations in the summer.


Here’s where tiny house and motorhome owners may agree.

Having a small house and a small motorhome may provide the best solution for flexibility and freedom. The tiny house could free you financially and a moderately priced motorhome may free you geographically.


Whatever you decide, it’s your adventure but do your research before you make the decision.  Most single Baby Boomers are either saving for retirement or living on limited funds and need to make the most economical decision for their needs and wants.  We focus a lot on our needs, which is important, but it’s not only our funds that are limited so is our time to enjoy life the way we want.  If travel is important to you, these are two great movable options.  Next time, just for fun, we’ll discuss other alternative housing options.  You may be surprised what other single Baby Boomers call home.


Continue the adventure!


Linda Lea



Single Baby Boomers Living in Small Spaces: Tiny Houses


Photo credit: merwing✿little dear via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

When I want to clear my mind so I can get to sleep I watch shows about tiny houses.  “Tiny House Nation” on FYI, “Tiny House Builders”, “Tiny House, Big Living” and “Tiny House Hunters” On HGTV are the ones I watch.  I’m intrigued by the creative ways the builders find to use furniture that can fold away to add space or be used for several purposes.  No nook or cranny is overlooked when it comes to storage places both inside and outside the home.  Buyers who consider tiny houses are members of every age group and can be single, coupled or even have a family.  In this blog the discussion will be slanted toward single Baby Boomers, but there’ll be information for anyone who’s thinking about going tiny.  I used Ryan Mitchell’s website http://thetinylife.com/ for most of the information, but I kept in mind that he’s a single, tiny house enthusiast who lives the tiny, minimalist life.  While it works for him, it may not fit into what a single Baby Boomer needs and wants.



Photo credit: Sky Noir via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND


In his blog Ryan said, “The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet.”  A 1000 square foot home can still be considered a tiny home.  Even when I had a family of 4 we lived in less than 2,600 square feet quite comfortably.  Now that I’m living alone, I don’t feel the need for a large home to clean and maintain.  It’s convenient to have more room for visitors, but I don’t need the space often and live close to a number of hotels I could rent for them at a lower price than paying for another bedroom I don’t use.  Since most of my friends and family are used to having their own space, it can be a suitable option.  So maybe a tiny house would work for me.  You may not consider me the typical single Baby Boomer, but for argument’s sake let’s see if I could live tiny.




  • I could afford to buy it for cash.  Homes sell from approximately $15,000 if you repurpose old items and do some of the work yourself to over a $100,000 if you want a larger home with top-of-the-line appliances, fixtures, and furniture. This might eliminate a house payment.  Depending on where I put it, I may not have to pay property tax, but there may be a rental fee for the parking space.  Tiny homes like any movable structure decrease in value unless they’re on a foundation and even then more of the value is in the land than the building.  Some utilities would cost less in a tiny space, but others like cable, internet and garbage disposal would remain the same.  Maintenance would be less since it’s smaller.  If quality house building materials aren’t used and construction is below recommended building standards, problems like a leaky roof may develop.   You may also have difficulty getting it insured.




Originally a self-governing tent camp of homeless adults in Olympia, Washington, Quixote Village now consists of 30 tiny houses, a community garden, and a common space with showers, laundry facilities and living and dining space. See more at http://www.shareable.net/ .


  • I could move my tiny home. If I bought a truck, built my tiny home on a trailer and kept in small, I could live anywhere.  But could I or would I want that?  When I had my 28” travel trailer, I took it on a few vacations.  It was difficult for me to maneuver and set up by myself, so I ended up parking it on a relative’s property so  I could use it on weekends and when I came back from Japan.  A tiny house would pose similar problems for me.  You may never have to move without help, but you need to consider how you’d do it alone.  Also, where would you put it?  Zoning laws in many locations haven’t addressed the issue of where you can legally put your tiny home.  If you have a relative or friend who’ll let you park in their yard or on their land, you may be able to get away with it if you can hide it and fly under the radar.  If you get caught, then you may have to move or go to the local governing body and plead your case.  Some places have allowed them and others tell you no dice.  RV parks may be an option, but they also have rules for their renters.  There are Tiny House Communities, but they’re not always where you want to live.  I want to know if I decide to move, I’ll have a place to put my tiny house where I don’t have to jump through a lot of hoops.  You may enjoy the challenge.  The Tiny House Movement needs new advocates.  The Tiny Life website has an eBook titled “Cracking the Code” that may help with this.  Order it at https://resources.thetinylife.com/store/cracking-the-code/?



Photo credit: mikecogh via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA


If you’re going to move your tiny house on wheels, it has to be roadworthy and able to withstand stresses far beyond those of a traditional housing.  When you’re on the road, everything must be secured so nothing falls down, is torn off the outside when moving or breaks, like windows, because it wasn’t built to tolerate being moved.  When it’s in place hurricane strapping can anchor the house to the ground more strongly than most houses are built today.



Photo credit: RowdyKittens via Visual Hunt / CC BY


  • But it’s so cute. Cute sucks me in all the time.  That’s may be why I have a red Mustang convertible. It’s a great looking car that gallops away from a stop sign like the animal who gave it its name.  I get honks because men mistake my white hair for blond.  It’s funny when they speed up to get a look at me and see I’m a Baby Boomer.  Anyway, I digress.  Miniature cabins, cottages decorated with gingerbread trim and sleek modern styles catch our eye.  When we see cute, our neighbors may see a trailer.  Added architectural features like dormers, porches, cupolas and old barn wood siding look great but aren’t light or aerodynamic and create drag when you move your home.  This may not matter if you don’t move it often but can make a difference if you use it like a travel trailer.




  • I can redecorate to suit my taste. You own it, so that’s true.  It can be tailored to meet your needs with decorative, but useful items.  You can add extra storage options and a fold-up bed for guests, if space permits.




Photo credit: thekenshow via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC


  • My pet is always welcome. Unless your pet is gigantic, they adjust to a smaller place if you make room for their bedding, food, water and for my cat, a litter box.  Dogs will need to go outside for exercise and to relieve themselves, but if they’re like my baby, they’d rather lie on a bed than even bat a treat toy around to get a snack.




  • The loft gives me additional space. This feature is often one of the biggest selling points of some tiny houses.  While it’s great for an office, studio, storage or a younger guest, we single and partnered Baby Boomers often need to use the facilities in the middle of the night.  Even stairs can be difficult to navigate when you’re half asleep and a ladder is a real hazard.  In one tiny house the owners built in drop-down boxes in the ceiling under a loft for additional storage.  Lofts make for low ceilings, so if you’re not vertically challenged like me, you may need more clearance both downstairs and in the loft.




  • I’m a small person so in this case size doesn’t matter. Yes, I’m a petite person, but I may not always be as mobile as I age.  Could a walker or even a wheelchair fit into such a small place?  Would I be able to reach the counters and high cabinets in the kitchen?  Could I maneuver around the bathroom?  If I had a larger than average tiny house bedroom with a twin bed on the lower level, that wouldn’t be a problem.  I’d have less to clean and maintain and that’s a plus.  A ramp could be built to get into the home and stored when moving it.



Photo credit: thekenshow via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC


  • I could live off the grid. Yes, I could, but do I want that?  You may want to leave a smaller environmental footprint or be the adventurous type who enjoys a solitary life surrounded by wildlife and scenic views.  You may just be someone with a piece of land in the country and don’t want to pay for extra services.  In the blog “Making a Living Out of Living (Off-Grid in the Wilderness)” at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/design-your-path/201304/making-living-out-living-grid-in-the-wilderness John Jungwirth gave his take on the subject.  He’s lived in a small cabin for 25 years on 80 acres of remote wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife Victoria.  He said, “It keeps my brain healthy. It’s a paradise.” He added, “It’s nice to be alone and have time to think, but when you don’t have many people around you do relish people.” Although the Jungwirth’s live for the most part like their Ojibwas neighbors did in past years, they do have a solar powered T.V. and Victoria uses the internet at her job at the food coop.




Photo credit: The_Answerin_Machine via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND


There are many innovations that make living off the grid in a tiny house possible such as solar panels, water collection systems and composting toilets.  Just a note about composting toilets, it’s illegal to throw the compost in the garbage in municipalities.  You need to bury it or use it to fertilize decorative, not edible, vegetation.  See the additional information below from https://www.creditloan.com/blog/the-true-cost-of-living-off-the-grid/ before you decide.






At this point in my life, I don’t want to own anything that requires maintenance other than my car.  That may not be what you want so a tiny house could be the home of your dreams.  If you buy one, please invite me for a visit.  I’d love to see how you make it work for you.


By the way, the 30-day Minimalism Game is working well and I haven’t even gotten to my clothes yet.  I have faith I can actually make a dent in my clutter.


Continue the adventure!


Linda Lea


Single Baby Boomers Living in Small Spaces-Decluttering

Single Baby Boomers Living in Small Spaces-Decluttering

I planned to write about Tiny Houses this time, but when I sat down with my laptop I noticed the show “Hoarder: Buried Alive” was on T.V. so I decided I needed to address paring down your possessions first and perhaps even touch on how to become a minimalist before moving into a smaller space. The website http://www.theminimalists.com/ addresses the concept of living with less and even challenges its readers to a 30-Day Minimalism Game in which you get rid of one non-consumable item the first day, 2 the second all the way up to 30 on the last day. Most of us could go for even longer without making a dent in our stuff. We don’t live by the K.I.S.S. acronym-Keep It Simple, Stupid.


I’ve moved 28 times and pared down to what I thought was the absolute minimal level of possessions twice. For a year I taught in Japan and lived as the people there do in a tiny studio apartment which with the help of the 100 Yen Store became cluttered, but homey. I wish I’d learned something from their culture, but I retained the hunting and gathering technique of my ancestors. I lived in a travel trailer for several months after my return and in two efficiency apartments before I bought my last partially furnished house. When I made my last move, I pared down again, taking just a few items of furniture. However, I managed to fill my new space and now need to get rid of at least some of the duplicate items, worn out or rarely worn clothes and the knick-knacks that clutter my shelves. Even though I’ve found ways to make it all fit, I feel it’s out of control and just plain messy. Just because I have found ways to store it out of sight, doesn’t mean I need it.


and-you-never-need-to-think-about-which-pot-to-use-for-which-dish - Copy


Here are a few tips I plan to employ that you might find helpful.

• 1 In-1 Out-This is just what it says. Every time you bring something non-consumable into your home, you must take something out either by selling, giving or throwing it away. Social media and other websites such as Craigslist and local buy, sell and swap sites allow you to sell or give away items without paying for an ad like eBay and newspapers. Some, such as eBay, Craigslist and http://www.decluttr.com/ have apps so you can stay up-to-date on your sales. Goodwill and other thrift stores are always looking for usable items. Just don’t go shopping while you’re there. A good deal isn’t always a smart deal.

goodwillPhoto credit: JeepersMedia via VisualHunt.com / CC BY


• Keep Track of your Progress-This can be done with checks on a calendar or if you like apps, try the one for iPhones at https://konmari.com/app/. To find out when it’s available for androids, sign up for organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s newsletter at the same address. With this app besides being able to keep track of your progress, you can get help with decluttering and motivation tips from Marie and her readers.



• Declutter Flat Surfaces-Anything flat can be a convenient gathering place for clutter. When you walk through the door have a place to hang your coat and put down your keys and mail. If you don’t have a closet, then a hall table and hooks can do the job. Tables and counters are convenient junk collectors. Store groceries and other items in their proper place as soon as get home. If you don’t have enough cupboard space, find ways to corral items you use often. Open shelves, bins, and baskets work well. The last two keep items contained, but be sure to not go crazy with too many or you’ll lose things and waste a lot of time searching for them. Try keeping similar items like tools, kitchen utensils, and secretarial supplies in one place or area.


kitchen containers
Photo credit: bnilsen via Visual hunt / CC BY-SA

• Throw Away Disposable Items-Most things made of paper can be tossed after use or scanned if you need to keep them. Make sure you back up the items you can’t afford to lose to the cloud or an external hard drive. If you have an electronic device and internet access, you can find most recipes, bills, banking information and other things we used to keep in paper form online. Repurposing plastic containers may save you money, but don’t let your cupboards get filled with containers that aren’t microwave safe or those you don’t use often. Remember to recycle, if possible.


• Buy Multipurpose or Convertible Furniture-One of the greatest challenges of living in a smaller space is to get the most use out of your limited area after you’ve pared down your personal items. Convertible furniture can add additional seating and storage that fits into small places. Pinterest has numerous ideas and more are added every day that go way beyond using cabinets, trunks, and bins.


• Hang It Up-Utilizing vertical space can be a clever way to reduce clutter and creatively decorate. Narrow shelves hung on the inside doors of kitchen cabinets, cubbies under stairs and hooks on your wall can help you stow your stuff. A fishnet holds my favorite shells, souvenir magnets adorn my fridge and artwork and photos from my travels beautify my walls. Décor should be decorative and functional in your small space. Plants provide beauty, food and clean our air.


craft organization
Photo credit: kristinized via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND


• Put your Shopping on a Diet-Just as you wouldn’t grocery shop on an empty stomach, window-shopping can be a sure path to clutter. When I shop for groceries I hit the perimeter where the staples are kept with strategic strikes into the aisles with other foods. So when shopping for other items only visit a store to buy something when you’ve already decided how it will be used and where it will fit into your home. Big box stores may be convenient, but the diverse inventory can lead to impulse purchases. If you find something you hadn’t planned on buying, think it over and compare prices online. It’ll most likely be there the next day if you believe you still have to have it.


Photo credit: Fernando Stankuns via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

• Let Go of Gifts and Family Mementos-This is a difficult choice. Keep only the special things that remind you of your family and friends. The ones that brought you happiness and pleasant memories. If they’ve passed away, you want a remembrance. You might want to pick one you can use so that with each use it brings back a pleasurable memory. Photos and videos can be stored on your computer. Reminder-Back them up. You carry family and friends around with you in your heart and you don’t always need a tangible reminder.

I’m going to play the 30-Day Minimalist game and I challenge you to join me. My first item will be an extra bin I’m just storing. Then I’ll start at my closet and work my way through my apartment. If it goes well, I may do it again as a New Year’s Resolution. Since I’ve put this down in writing, I believe I can accomplish my goal and lighten my load for the coming year.

If you have ideas on how to declutter your life, please share them here or on my Facebook page. You can access it through the icon at the top of this blog.

Continue the adventure!
Linda Lea

Is Renting the Right Choice for a Single Baby Boomer?

Not all single Baby Boomers have their house paid off, want to stay where they currently live or want the headaches or expense of maintaining a home.  If you fall into one of these categories, then renting may be for you.


Photo credit: jthetzel via Visualhunt / CC BY


Here are a few things you may want to consider when making your decision.


Leslie Pepper wrote on the AARP website at http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-12-2010/rent_or_own_whats_best_for_empty_nesters.html that a former Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight study showed if you bought a house in 1977 for $50,000 and the value increased to $290,500 in 2007, you would have lost $103,000 when you factor in the cost of mortgage interest, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs.  You may want to factor in possible gains if you would have invested the equity in your home in something other than real estate.  These numbers reflect the change in 2007, but you must also consider what happened in the 10 years after the housing bubble burst and home prices plummeted.  If you want to watch a movie on this financial disaster see “The Big Short,” the movie version of Michael Lewis’ book about a bunch of misfits who foresaw the housing and mortgage bubble and how they profited when it burst.  It’s entertaining and frustrating if you bought during that time period and/or tried to sell in the aftermath.



Photo credit: stepnout via VisualHunt.com / CC BY


If this makes you want more information then consider this.  The Census Bureau’s 2016 report showed an overall significant decrease in rental availability in the U.S.  The two charts below compare first rental and homeownership vacancies from 1987 to 2015 and then rental availability in the U.S. and its regions from 2015-2016.  Rental availability has decreased steadily since the housing bubble burst in the middle of the last decade.  Lower availability means, rental cost are higher now and will be increasing in the future, so you need to consider how changes in your rent will affect your budget.  In addition, you’ll need to take into account the upfront and reoccurring costs.




  • Security Deposit-This insures against property damage requiring repairs, delinquent rent, broken leases and other incidentals. Many states limit security deposits to 1.5 times monthly rent.


  • First Month’s Rent-Most landlords require the first month’s and sometimes the last month’s rent upfront.  If you move in the middle of the month, your landlord may accept a prorated rent payment.


  • Nonrefundable Deposits-Depending on the rental property laws in your state and your landlord’s preferences, you may be charged additional nonrefundable deposits like a pet deposit which typically range from $100 to $500, depending on the type of animal and base rent.


  • Monthly Rent-This can increase whenever you sign a new lease unless you live in a rent-controlled neighborhood or a city with strict renter protection laws.


  • Pet Rent-Instead of a pet deposit, some landlords charge pet rent in order to spread the expected cost of pet-related wear and tear over the entire rental term.  It can amount to $10 to $40 per month, depending on the animal and base rent.


  • Renters Insurance-For some rentals renters aren’t required to carry renters insurance for their possessions, but it’s highly recommended in the event of loss due to theft, fire and other perils. This is less expensive than homeowner insurance since costs are based on your personal property and not the structure.


  • Utilities-You’ll have this cost anywhere you live, but it can be much lower in some rental properties unless you’re renting a house.  Some landlords include several or all of the utilities in the monthly rent.



Photo credit: Thad Zajdowicz via Visual Hunt / CC BY


Other financial issues you may want to consider are the loss of tax benefits you have when you have a mortgage to deduct and the fact you’re not building equity as you do with a home.


Peace of Mind

  • Maintenance-Never again will you be faced with a bill for a new roof, flooded basement or new appliances and fixtures.  Your maintenance person will install replacements and you’ll sometimes be able to get an upgrade like a ceiling fan if you renew your lease.  In some places, they’ll even change light bulbs, HVAC filters and help with other reoccurring maintenance.


  • Flexibility-If you’re moving to a new locale and want to get acquainted with the area before you buy, you may want to rent. Also, you may be unsure about how long you want to stay in a new place or may find the rental you chose was too noisy, in an inconvenient location, unsafe or not appropriate for your lifestyle in other ways.  If that’s the case, you can pack up and move at any time, but keep in mind if you leave before your lease is up, you’ll have to pay penalties which are sometimes quite steep and other moving expenses.



Photo credit: mattbuck4950 via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA


It’s important to remember that since you don’t own the property, your landlord could sell it and you’d be out.  Your state has laws which protect your rights, so research those if your rental is sold.  If you break the terms of your lease and are evicted, you still have rights, but if you’re not a good tenant, your landlord may make the rest of your stay very uncomfortable so you move quickly.



View from my balcony


I’ve owned and rented and found that depending on my stage of life each can have its pros and cons.  If you’re not living with someone, as a single you have many options.  You don’t need to compromise, so find what’s best for your needs and wants.  If you rent, you can easily change your mind and buy so renting may a good way to weigh your options and make an educated decision.  Wanting to age in place can factor into your choice.  I want to keep my life as simple as possible, so I now rent.  I had to get used to sharing a thin wall and neighbors who move often.  The last part can be a mixed blessing.  Good neighbors are hard to find no matter where you live.  You want to get rid of the sketchy one and beg the quiet ones to stay.  I miss my yard with its garden, but not the yard work.  I enjoy being close to the beach, stores, restaurants and other conveniences.  The pool is a real plus.  My rent is less than my last house, but I have half the square footage.  My needs include a quiet, top floor location, dishwasher, laundry and a place for my cat box, so my 1 bedroom with a bunkroom, second half bath and washer and dryer fits me to a T.  I’d like more closet space than the yard wide bedroom closet, but I’ve found storage options in my bunkroom and multiuse furniture.  I may not stay here forever but for now, I call it home.


Continue the adventure!

Linda Lea