google-site-verification: google1ebcbd3f9084755c.html Eclectic writing: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009


There are nice old and new trailers out there..... we just want ONE.... just one, that is all.

I'll just jump in and say that shopping for a travel trailer is not for the faint of heart.

Besides the local paper and local newspaper, Craigslist is our main source for searching for trailers.
We have gone from finding the "perfect" trailer, to finding something adequate to something that does not stink..... too badly. In other words, we have lowered our expectations significantly, but what really stinks (besides the aforementioned trailers) is the amount of lies we have to endure while giving up precious time and gas to allow people to lie to our face and seeing if we are willing to "bite".
Our list does not require much, just what you would expect when purchasing anything that you and your family will be using for a long time: Clean, no Leaks, maintained electrical/gas, etc and of course, no smell of cat urine. (you can imagine why)
Let me tell ya! .... Most of the people who post in Craiglist are delusional or they are shameless liars who seem to be under the impression that once they type in the statement "Excellent condition", you will show up and not notice the dry rot, the smell of mold, cat urine, rust, dents, missing seals on seams, or the fact that the only thing holding that unit up is a merciful God, because the tires are shot.
We have been looking for around 2 months and it looks unlikely that we will manage to get what we would like to have by this summer because of the delusions that these posters have about selling them for the same price as a new one.
If you are new to travel trailers, there is nifty little guide called N.A.D.A. and it is very similar to the familiar Blue Book we all use to determine the price of our every day vehicles and after we plug in the "excellent condition" reported by the poster, add all the stuff that does NOT come with it (like a washer and dryer, or garbage disposal, etc), the price on the unit can range anywhere from $3,000 to $4,200 dollars. The asking price is close to $10,000.

It must be a real beauty to command such a price. The condition is "mint" (as they are fond of posting) and ".... You will not find a better unit at this price anywhere". We can only imagine how much better these units must be for these people to be asking $10,000 or close to it.
The fact is, that Travel Trailers depreciate faster than any car any of us has ever owned, they are not in high demand and frankly, condition and maintenance is everything when it comes to making a sale. This is true of everything, but more so on travel trailers that are designed with low weight and frankly, low quality materials to begin with. Even brand new units are quite a disappointment in terms of materials but since it is designed to take the place of cheap hotel for a few weeks a year, you will over look it. (yes, you will, specially after you have gone to ever dealership and walked in every single one of them).

Of course, taking a realistic look at what the unit should actually be priced at, would be helpful.
Imagine our surprise when a 2003 Aljo lite travel trailer was advertised for $9,500 and having been used rarely (according to N.A.D.A. $3,700 to $4,460 is the actual price) was not in "perfect condition": Major holes in the body, tires flat, broken pieces.... but hey! no leaks! (Or so the owner claims) even though the poor unit has been sitting outdoors for years with more holes than a block of Swiss cheese and one wonders " do people really think that everyone else is that stupid?".

We have had our share of snow, hail and rain over the seasons and one wonders what magical spells have kept the elements out of those holes?

Take the woman who wants the same amount for a urine infected unit, holes in the bathtub, seals missing from the seams, pet hair all over the unit (where humans are meant to sleep, eat and sit) and claims that all appliances work even though they have never used them.

(...... Hummmm! this rust bucket that has been taking a beating and used to death for the past 10 yrs, has never been used for cooking, showering or heating some water?).

But hey! in talking to them, this trailer is worth that much because that is what they paid for it 10 yrs ago (before it was trashed, of course, minor detail).
We will persevere and keep looking and putting up with the nonsense and hopefully, we will prevail and take our first real vacation in 14 yrs.
Thank you for reading.
PEACE to you and yours

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saving money on cleaning products


The following are basic things that we have tried and work well. We save money and don't come in contact with harmful chemicals. Safe for our family, safe for the environment and we reduce waste by reducing our carbon footprint.

White Vinegar

Spray bottle and white vinegar.

A gallon of white vinegar costs less than $2.00

#1. Use full strength to clean the grease off stove top and disinfect any area you would use commercial chemicals (like commodes, bathroom fixtures, etc)

#2. Spray on ants that invade your home. Spray around areas where they are prone to enter your home.

#3. Dilute with warm water and spray lightly and mop wood/laminate flooring and tiles. It leaves everything clean and shinny, while it disinfects.

#4. Diluted with water will clean and shine bathroom mirrors and remove toothpaste from every surface.

#5. If out of alcohol to clean a cut, use vinegar, it will kill germs and disinfect just as well by changing the PH in which bacteria thrives.

#6. A couple of drops in the ear will relieve "swimmer's ear", stop and ear infection (we have used this successfully for years) by changing the PH that bacteria/germs need to "cling" to. (we have not had an ear infection in years and our kids have not needed to use antibiotics)

#7. Use to clean car and house windows, remove hand oils and grease from steering wheels, shine chrome wheels and faucets.

#8. Marinate meat and poultry in your favorite mixture and add a little vinegar to tenderize meats and keep them juicier while cooking. It also shortens cooking time.

#9. Use in rinse cycle in your washing machine to brighten up dull dark clothes.

#10. Use white distilled vinegar to remove deposits from the inside of your coffee machine.

#11. Add a few drops when boiling eggs to keep them from cracking.

#12. Hard water stains can be removed by rinsing with white vinegar (shower glass doors, car hoods, etc).

#13. It makes a wonderful low-fat, low-calorie dressing by mixing (to taste) some white vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic/onion powder and cilantro. Yummy!!!

There are many more and as time goes by we find more and more uses for white distilled vinegar.


I can't imagine anything more versatile that baking soda, it is widely used in cooking and baking, but cleaning is just one discovery after another as we go through life and make bigger messes.

#1. Remove persistent odors from garbage pail, refrigerators, freezer, pet and human odors in carpet, etc by either placing a small container in these areas or spraying liberally over carpet and vacuuming after 10/15 minutes.

#2. Add to solution in shampooer to remove both pet and human odors.

#3. Add to laundry detergent to soften water, use less detergent, brighten clothes and remove stains in colors.

#4. Add to hot water wash when doing white loads to remove gray from socks and perspiration stains from clothing (yellowing).

#5. Make a paste with water and easily wipe away scuff marks from linoleum without ruining the shine.

#6. Add to water bucket (dissolve completely) when mopping tile floors.

#7. Throw over fire (on wood, upholstery or stove fire) to put it out.

#8. Soaking dirty underwear, cloth diapers, badly stain clothes in baking soda and then washing will remove most persistent stains and odors.

#9. Nasty smells in stainless steel water bottles are gone after letting a solution of baking soda and water sit a while in the container.

#10. Soak gold/silver jewelery NOT PEARLS in a tin foil container filled with hot water, salt and baking soda. It will remove tarnish and leave the jewelry sparkling.

#11. Run your dishwasher with baking soda in the bottom to clean it, add it to the bottom while doing a full load to use less detergent and avoid "etching" on glasses caused by hard water.

#12. Clean and shine without scratching your bathtub, tiles, and fixtures.

#13. Use it to brush your teeth and whiten your teeth. Gargle with a mixture to eliminate bad breath.

#14. One teaspoon dissolved in water will reduce stomach acid. My grand-uncle used it after every meal to avoid/reduce heartburn.

#15. Make a paste with water and apply directly to insect bites/poison ivy, etc.

#16. Add to your bath water to soften hard water and enjoy a bath that is good for your skin.

#17. Pour into your kitchen sink drain and let it sit for 10 minutes, then pour boiling hot water and it will remove that nasty smell that comes from the pipes, will dissolve gunk in the pipes as well.

#18 Baking soda and vinegar make for a great volcano effect for kid's science project but it also dissolves grease in kitchen pipes. (Regular maintenance makes this easier, I suggest once a week)

#19. Silverware sparkles after rubbing with baking soda (rinse and dry afterwards).

#20. Dissolve baking soda in warm water and let it sit in smelly plastic containers for about 15 minutes. The smell will be gone and most stains will come out.

PEACE to you and yours.