A few weeks ago I posted about some big plans I have. It's hard to believe it was that recent, because things are already starting to happen! Since people have been asking, I thought I'd post an update on what's going on.
The first thing I needed to do was find a source of money for all the other endeavors, and that meant finding a buyer for my house in Florida. Luckily, that happened almost immediately. My neighbor back in Florida owns the property next door to mine, and it would be profitable for her family to own mine as well. So her son made me an offer almost right away! It's not a lot of money, because the house is old and the property's not in great shape, but it's just enough to cover the things I want to do.
I've been spending a lot of time browsing RVs, and I've decided exactly what I want: a 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe, or another very similar trailer. By keeping a close watch on this site and being willing to go with an older model, I should be able to snag one for $3,000-$5,000, which is right in my budget. I also plan to sell my car and buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee or similar SUV for towing. There are lots of Grand Cherokees online in around the same price range as my car's Blue Book value, so it should be a pretty even trade.
So far I haven't done much toward getting into Goddard because I need to pay off my loans first. I did do a FAFSA and find out that once my loans are paid, I should qualify for a full Pell Grant (based on last year's income). I also requested the standard admissions information packet and browsed the online catalog. So far, Goddard looks highly compatible with the rest of my plans, because I can get credit for documenting what I learn and do during my travels.
I've been researching surgeons. Now, I'm not a highly religious person, but I do believe in intuition and paying attention to certain signs. My mind was telling me not to go with Melissa Johnson, because I was unimpressed with some of her results on Transbucket, and even less impressed by her $100 consult fee. In contrast, Paul Costas does consults for free, and while I could only find a few of his results on Transbucket, they all looked good to me. Plus, his website looks a bit less tacky and more professional than Johnson's. But something kept not feeling right when I'd think about calling Costas' office to schedule a consult, and I couldn't bring myself to do it. I finally decided it was just that I'm not ready to start planning on surgery just yet. Meanwhile, I posted about my surgeon dilemma on Tumblr, and a total stranger messaged me to stress that they had a wonderful experience with Johnson and they'd recommend her above anyone else. And in fairness, I had to admit that the one thing I keep hearing about Johnson is that she and the hospital she works through take excellent care of patients. Then today - after I'd already decided to put off calling Costas for awhile - a friend who knew nothing of my dilemma emailed me out of the blue to say his friend had a great surgeon. He gave me her contact info, and lo and behold, it was Melissa Johnson. So you know what? I think it just might be worth the $100 to check her out. Gut feelings and word-of-mouth are important things to consider.
So that's where I'm at right now. In the meantime, I'm trying to make my budget stretch to cover food, gas, and medicine until I finish all the legal shenanigans involved in selling the house. After that, it's mostly just red tape and miscellaneous errands standing between me and the life I want.