Monday, November 17, 2008
Adventures in RV Living
Okay, here's a bunch of questions I would never in a trillion years have an answer for if I'd not ever lived in a 29-foot rolling home with another human being and 3 dogs. Sometimes I think RV living is good training if you ever decide to be an astronaut. Except for the weightlessness thing, hurling through space at 17,000 mph and not having unlimited access to oxygen, it's probably not that different.
Wow. It's 3 a.m, 30 degrees outside and that pesky breaker switch just tripped again for some unknown reason you can't discern until dawn, shutting down your precious bedside heater. What do you do?
Invite one or more dogs into bed with you. With a normal body temp of around 100 degrees, the average dog is a heater waiting to happen. You give your pets the best of everything. The least they can do is keep you from freezing so you can live to do their bidding another day.
A leak develops in your roof and everyone you call has different advice, always ending in "...and it's gonna be really expensive."
Stop calling people. Get a book or check the internet and find out what products are out there that you can use yourself , buy some and read the directions carefully. Panic. Call the customer service number on the side of the can and ask if they are serious. When they assure you they are, tell them you need them to walk you through it in a way even a child could understand. Then fix your own roof, saving yourself about $199,000 and the trouble of having to find a motel or friend that will take you and your 3 dogs for 5 days while someone else fixes your roof with the same products.
Where do I put these extra groceries?
Try the shower. There's room for a storage box in there. Oh, right, the laundry hamper is in there. Put the groceries on top of the laundry hamper in the shower. Next problem?
Don't you get tired of not having much room?
Sometimes the smallest of houses can seem too big and the biggest of mansions can be too confining. Like everything else, it's how you look at it. When I needed an office John made me a sliding desk using the right side of the dashboard. I have a computer, printer, lamp and files, just like you probably do at home. We have a tiny kitchen where I have learned to cook with very little space to do so - a challenge, and for the dogs, a delight. I drop food all the time. We don't have a dining area due to the dogs taking over that space but we found a way to fit a temporary table over the bed. There's no way to explain this - you'd have to see it. The key is, we like being together, John and I. We really enjoy each other's company. That's an absolute must. If you can think of one person you can do this kind of life with, you're lucky. I can think of people I really adore with whom this life would be impossible. However, I would really like to try it with George Clooney, but John says no.
What's the best and worst parts of living in an RV?
It can get weird after a few years living in so many different places. Sometimes you will think, I'd really like to get some bread pudding at that Cajun place and then realize that was a year ago in Tampa and you are now in Texas. It can always get lonely being away from friends and family and it hurts my heart at times not to have a brick and mortar home to have people come visit and stay with us for a while. Especially as older relatives die off and when friends send news of from a place I used to live of events I'm not there to take part in, it can feel sad to be away. I miss not being able to buy certain things. There's no room for extra stuff. I'd like another dog. There's no room for another dog. Or a cat. Because I "lost" two homes to divorce and Hurricane Katrina in such fast succession, I still sometimes mourn the past, but I have found that living in a caravan can keep you very in the moment. You meet people you would never meet otherwise and they become fast friends and you know you would have missed that friendship if you'd not made the gypsy choice. You are much closer to nature and often in the middle of real estate you could never afford unless you were a Trump or a Ted Turner. There's a lot to be said for waking up and stumbling out the door in the morning right into a perfect beach paradise or overlooking wild horses in a colorful canyon or sitting at dusk on your porch swing (right, we have a portable porch swing) drinking wine and watching the sun set over the mountains. It's intensely romantic to live in a caravan. It's difficult at times. Life is often so simple and beautiful. It can be scary or expensive or irritating. It can be lonely,worrying or inconvenient. It can be very exciting. It's never, never, never dull.