Friday, March 1, 2013

New Things for the Alfa

First, a comment about this week: we got a lot done, but have run into a big setback, and a couple of larger-than-we-expected cost estimates on things that have to be done. Between that and just the ongoing stress of the projects we each had at least one "melt down". Fortunately we survived, and have both promised to try to be kinder to each other.

So enough said about the horrible house projects for a while.

I have been busy shopping for a couple of things I really wanted for the Alfa.

I needed a small vacuum cleaner. My first try was a cordless, rechargeable stick vac type that I bought thru Costco online last year. One of the things I didn't like about it was that it wouldn't stand up on its own. Even when I carefully propped it up, it toppled over more times than not. The bigger drawback was that it needed to be stored in its recharging station, and the station itself had to be plugged in.  There is no good place for it in the Alfa.  So I took it back.

The next vacuum I bought was also a stick vac. It had a cord, and could be stored lying down in the back of the closet. However, its suction was very weak and the cord was very short. It required three plug changes to go from front to back. I also didn't like the bagless dirt cup arrangement. Some people like these, but I seemed to get myself dirty whenever I emptied it. The snap-together connection was very awkward. I don't feel bad about adding it to the Goodwill or flea market pile because it was quite inexpensive.

Having learned something from these two, I knew I did not want another stick vac. I looked around in several stores and found a very nice, small, hand held, canister-style Oreck vacuum. It was not cheap, but it really does a good job.

The only negative I have found so far was that the shoulder strap was a bit uncomfortable. Poor me, not as much fat padding anymore. But that was quickly solved: I padded it with some foam rubber I had on hand, and covered that with a piece of left over fleece fabric.  It's nice and comfy now.

It also has a very long cord.  If I plug it in at the kitchen in the Alfa, I can reach everything from the front steps and driver's foot area to the back bedroom.

A big plus is its size.

(For the benefit of my non-RV friends, one feature of our motor home is a storage space under the bed. The mattress is on a platform that lifts up. This space is easily
accessible even when the slides are in and block the closet and some of the bedroom cabinet doors. The black spots on the floor are for the access  for the diesel engine.)

The little vacuum fits quite nicely in one corner "under" the bed. There is nothing else in there for now, but when we full time in the Alfa I will use this space for storage of extra off-season clothes, blankets and an extra pillow or two.

This week, the Oreck came in handy for regular chore in the house: vacuuming the wood ceiling in our living room.  In the past I have had to balance a larger vacuum while on a ten foot step ladder to reach the highest places.  This week I added a couple of sections of pipe from another vacuum to the telescoping tube of the Oreck and was able to reach all but the very highest point.  This year the accumulation of cob webs was more evident than usual because of all the dust from the home improvement projects. I usually do this every Spring and  Fall, or when I notice them. 

Another item I have wanted is a small travel iron. Craig asked why I would want an iron along at all since I stopped ironing his shirts when he retired. The answer is for sewing. I do want to take my sewing machine along since sewing can be a very practical hobby. You need an iron to press open seams etc. I have looked at several and settled on a little Sunbeam. I think it's cute. I haven't tried it yet, but it sure is smaller than my big old standard steam iron.

My third "smaller" item is a travel scale. I have had the same regular size bathroom scale for at least twenty years.  Lately it has been acting erratically and required frequent battery changes. I took it along on our trips, but didn't like the fact that it took up so much space in the cabinet under bathroom sink. So when I had a refund from Amazon for a returned item, I decided to buy a new scale. It is really quite sturdy and not difficult to balance on. The only negative is that when used side by side, it show my weight as about 1 1/2 pounds higher than my old one. It's somewhat like daylight saving time. A measurement number has changed, but reality has not. I have not really gained weight, but for a while I will be mentally subtracting that pound and a half just as I think to myself it's really an hour earlier or later than what the clock says when we first change over.  

I like the way it shows the fractional part instead of just the whole number, and chose the eye-catching red-orange over the conservative boring black.

Storage will be no problem. It is so thin!  It came with two little corners that can be put on the edges so it can stand on its side.

I was going to use them, but when I took it up to the Alfa, I found that without the corners, it easily fit into the lower shelf between the extra rolls of toilet paper, under the bathroom sink.  It will also fit in the space next to the toilet if I want to leave it on the floor. 

Finally, speaking of color, these are some new socks I bought at the outlet stores in Las Vegas --10 for $10.  I have decided that I'm going to save them for RV trips.  Especially in the evenings after my shower when my feet are "happy."

It is so much more fun finding a few special things for the Alfa or for trips, than ordering carpeting or interviewing plumbers for the house.

Have you found any new toys this spring? Or anything that makes you smile?


  1. Love the socks. Sure sounds like shopping has been more fun than house projects.

  2. I found something new in January! A working hip is about as good as it gets. ;)

  3. Those socks make me smile, just looking at the pictures! My happy thing is colorful shoes - not crazy, but things like hot pink swooshes and turquoise laces.

  4. I very much like your happy socks! One of the things that I like in our motorhome is the convection oven part of our microwave which we don't have in our house at home. It's very useful.

  5. Love your socks, my latest purchase that has made my life easier is a small, portable scanner.

  6. We have a Weight Watchers scale that fits between the bathroom cabinet and shower side. I didn't want to take up room in a cabinet with it. Love your socks! Should have gotten Craig some to go with his jammies :-)

  7. We keep our scale like Laurie - between the cabinet and shower. We got a wireless printer an a new water pressure regulator. That's about as exciting as we get. Love those socks - definitely for happy feet.

  8. Yes, we bought a little Shop Vac to carry with us. It's bag is only a gallon size and we bought it mainly to clean out the vehicles. Last year we tracked in so many pine needles, and didn't have to way to vacuum them we do.

  9. Happy socks for happy feet. They even go with the new scale.

  10. I found the same problems finding a vacuum cleaner for the coach. I also tried the cordless, but didn't like where I had to keep it plugged in. I wanted one for the steps and car, but they didn't work well at all.

    Love the bath scale. When ours goes out I'll get one of those. I like the way it stores upright. Mine is always in the way.

    I also carry an iron and two ironing boards. One small foldup one and one big one. I use them rarely but want it when I need one.

    Oh, how quickly you'll fill up the space under the bed!!! Ours is crammed full!

    All house projects can be stressful. You'll get there. Hang in there.

  11. I ended up keeping a shark vacuum in the RV. Although it's a little biggish, it does such a great job that it's invaluable to me. I have to store it in my tub when the tub is not in use though. Don't have a real bed to store things under.

    Love, love, love the socks! Isn't it funny how something so simple can make us happy? I recently bought some cute funky socks too. I wear mine to the clinic.

  12. I love all your buys - especially the vacuum. We have central vac, but the long hose is a pain for quick run throughs. I might get a cordless one for the daily go through and use the central for the real thing.

    Nice socks :-)

  13. The socks are so cute - and I like the scale,too. Very thin, so easy to store. It's fun to buy new things once in a while. :)


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