First Time Selling Christmas Trees – Surprise Guests and More Setup

After training we were in a waiting mode until the team came to unload the trailer.  I had lots of admin stuff to do (signed up for next years ACA for example), but Lee was pretty restless. The constant cloud cover/rain didn’t help.  We were so looking forward to sunny skies but it has rained at least part of everyday we have been here.  Plus we didn’t really feel like we could leave, because we were told that they would call us before coming to do the setup, but we had no idea when that was.  We could have left of course, but it didn’t feel right, especially since I hadn’t received any walk-in applicants and I was started to get nervous about that. Thankfully though, we saw some movement on Tuesday when our holding tank and port-a-potty was delivered.  Things were starting to roll!

Delivery of our tank and port=a=potty. You can see the fire station behind us in the pic

Delivery of our tank and porta-a-potty.  We are getting weekly service I think

Can't get away from these things and unfortunately it is relatively close to the rig, but no where else to put it

Can’t get away from these things and unfortunately it is relatively close to the rig, but no where else to put it

The large tank is on the ground. We were told it would go behind the rig, but there is not enough room so we had to put it in the front. Hopefully there is no smell

The large holding tank is on the ground, by the fence.  We were told it would go behind the rig, but there was not enough room so we had to put it in the front. Hopefully there is no smell

Thankfully a dear friend of ours Rick was passing through Texas and made sure he routed himself by New Braunfels, which was a welcome distraction.  I first met Rick at the RV-Dreams Reunion rally and really got to know him when we were in the same boat on a white water rafting trip.  He actually fell out of the boat at one point and myself, Mike, and the guide worked really hard to get him back in.  Since we were in a section of rapids that was particularly dangerous it was pretty darn scary and the experience bonded Rick and I for life. After that experience we could have both wandered our separate ways. It happens; you meet people, grow somewhat close, and then may never see them again, but Rick went to some trouble.  He stopped and spent my 49th birthday with me when we were in Minnesota.  He made a special trip to see a group of us Dreamers when we were in Quartzsite last year, and he came to see us on our lot selling Christmas Trees.

Rick is a widower who travels solo with his dog Maxine.  He and his wife dreamed about doing this in their retirement, and he decided to continue on with that dream, partly in her memory.  In the last year he has sold the house, purchased a “new to him” rig, made a trip to England, and had several volunteer camp host positions. He looks so great.  Happy, relaxed, and is loving the lifestyle.  He’s a social guy and loves to stay busy, so these volunteer positions are perfect for him.  It helps keep his costs down, he’s been treated very well with every position he has had, and has really enjoyed “keeping busy and doing something productive.” I have to say after hearing about it, I love his life and am a little jealous.  We loved our two volunteer positions and in our mind there is no contest between those and any paying position we have had  when it comes to perks and how we were treated.  His experience has been the same, and I am so happy for him that he is enjoying himself.   I knew things were going well from reading his blog  On The Road with Maxine and Me , but seeing how great he looked in person, really solidified that.  Anyways, Rick and Maxine came and hung out in the tent and it was fun for Maxine because we had a huge fenced in lot for her to play in.  Since it was still empty, she had the run of the place, and we had a great time chatting and catching up.

Rick

Rick

Maxine was having a blast

Maxine was having a blast

I made some pinto beans and andouille sausage in the Instant pot. It turned out ok. Maxine liked it :)

I made some pinto beans and andouille sausage in the Instant pot. It turned out OK. Maxine liked it 🙂

Then Rick decided he wanted to cook dinner for us.  We like to cook for people on their travel days, but since we are working this can get complicated, and Rick loves to cook for people so it was OK by us.  He went and stayed nearby at a wonderful Corps of Engineers park, Potters Creek near Canyon Lake where he was staying on a beautiful site for only $13 a night with his senior discount. Since most of the private RV parks in the area are in the $40 – $50 range this is a steal and the first-come-first-serve worked to his advantage as he got one of the nicest sites I have ever seen in a park anywhere.

Rick's new rig

Rick’s new rig

The side view

The side view

His "yard"

His “yard”

Beats the heck out of our gravel lot

Beats the heck out of the view from our gravel lot

One of the first things we did was look at the changes Rick made to the rig.  He has a friend who is a carpenter and he changed closets and added drawers to every available space.  Very cool.

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Loved these custom spice racks they built

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The drawer to the right and the lower drawer were both added taking advantage of dead space. They did a nice job matching the wood color. I would never have known

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Great drawer they added under the fridge, again taking advantage of dead space

Dinner was great.  Rick made stuffed pork roast with an orange and cherry glaze and bought Lee pie.  I had made a new desert (was mediocre), but the pie was a huge hit.  Sometimes I think Lee just uses this blog to solicit free pies, because I swear every time we go to someone’s house for dinner they buy him one. (Duuuuude. BE COOL. – Lee) I don’t complain too much since it definitely helps with our food budget (pie ain’t cheap), but I should say for the record I am not a huge fan of pie.  That’s OK, because I am not a big desert eater either, but if you buy Lee a pie at some point down the road, please don’t be upset if I don’t eat it.

Rick had some whiskey for Lee

Rick had some whiskey for Lee

Rick making us dinner

Rick making us dinner

Roast pork. So yummy

Roast pork. So yummy

And a huge pie

And a huge pie

We left pretty early though, because it got dark early and was raining, plus I wanted to watch some of the election coverage.  I’m not going to talk about that here, but I will say I had a tough day on Wednesday.  So, when we got up I decided to go to breakfast.  It’s easier to face things with a good breakfast.  I used my Yelp app to look for local places (thanks Cori and Kelly for getting me to use this because it works very well) and there were less choices than I would have thought.  Many of the breakfast places were Mexican restaurants, and although I love Mexican food, not a huge fan of their breakfast options.  I decided on The Buttermilk Cafe, and although it was on the pricey side it was really nice.  My breakfast was delicious, but Lee was unimpressed by his sausage gravy, both quantity and quality.  I also loved the decor though and anyways it was good we did this, because we got a text saying the setup people would be there by noon.  A few hours notice, reinforced the idea that we really couldn’t travel far, and we were glad we hadn’t scheduled a trip anywhere.

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The eggs were excellent, bacon terrific, and the sourdough really really good. Biscuits were OK, but I’ve definitely had better

Three guys arrived  and we all started unloading the trailer.  An amazing amount of stuff was packed in this trailer and soon stuff was strewn everywhere.  Unfortunately, the trailer was missing some items.  Progress was made, but after 7 hours, there was still lots of work to do.  I was completely heartened by the fact that I got two applicants that came up during the setup process.  One was a teenager who unfortunately was under 18 (can’t hire anyone under 18 because they have to work with power tools), but the other gentleman was perfect.  He lived in the area, was available to work nights and weekends, was a grown-up and had landscaping experience.  I had an impromptu interview in our rig (could have done it outside, but things were a bit chaotic out there, we filled out the paperwork and I hired him on the spot.  I felt sooo much better with at least one hire, and that as everyone said people would just walk up once we were up and running.  Then the day just got better as we were putting up the last of the help wanted signs, Lee got a call from Cori and they had arrived a day early and wanted to come over!!

Unloading the trailer

Unloading the trailer

Lights going up

Lights going up

I’ll talk more about Greg and Cori later, but they are incredibly special to us because we started our journey with them and have been with them on and off over the last two years.  We can tell them anything and since they have known us from the beginning, have a pretty unique perspective on our lives and our journey.  We talked until 11pm and then everyone had to go to bed.  We will be here with them though for the next several weeks, and I am sure we will have lots of opportunities to be with them.  I am particularly excited because we will be with Cori at least (Greg has a work trip he needs to take) for our two year anniversary.  Speaking of which, I really need to get started on that post.  That one requires some research.


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18 thoughts on “First Time Selling Christmas Trees – Surprise Guests and More Setup

  1. How great that Rick could come by for a visit! Give me a berry pie any day and I’m happy!! I wish Guy and were closer so we could stop in to say “hi”, I would make you dinner!!
    I sure miss having a tree for Christmas! It sure is not the same staying in a hotel for the holidays! Have fun with the trees!!

  2. While I love this HUGE beautiful country of ours – it makes visiting difficult sometimes! How awesome was that Rick came by!? He is a special guy – Bill and I both miss seeing his smiling face! It’s also great you will have so much time with Cori & Greg! If only the miles were shorter!
    Looking forward to hearing more about the trees!

  3. It was so nice seeing you guys again 🙂
    Got to Potrero Park today looks pretty nice so far the parts that I got to see before it got dark. Will check out more tomorrow 🙂

  4. Tracy, I just wanted you to know. I am doing my first work kamp. I am working in the general store here at Miami Everglades RV resort. Like you I was really used to Corporate IT. This is checking in overnighters to monthlys. I’ve seen quite a bit in the store I would like to change, but don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. You two have a great time with the trees.

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