In case you think every day is eagles and waterfalls I probably should write a bit about early this week. Monday I was back to work and it was a busy work week for me, with lots going on and unfortunately this coincided with some not so great weather. Lee is a putterer. He always likes to be doing something and since the something he is working on usually makes my life easier, I like that about him. Not so much on rainy days though, because he’s limited to puttering inside and I am trying to work inside and its a pretty small space for all that. I know he’s getting particularly antsy when he starts to pace and even though we have levels in the camper (a huge benefit in my opinion) it’s still pretty distracting. I’ll be on a conference call, pretty tuned into what we are talking about and I keep catching him out of the corner of my eye. Distracting. I try to tell myself to be reasonable, he has to go somewhere, but I am trying to focus. So as a general rule rainy days and forced inactivity are a recipe for us to start sniping at each other. We have gotten MUCH better about this as time has gone on, but it’s still a little jarring and to be honest on those days I miss the space our house provided. Not the house itself mind, but our ability to go to our separate areas and stay away from each other for hours at a time. Lee also likes to sit outside in the morning and drink his coffee and wake up. This process takes some time most days, but on rainy/windy days he is forced to do it inside, not optimal.
In some respects I hate even writing about this because God knows I am not a joy to be with all the time, but it’s a major part of the experience and if I don’t write about the not so great days along with the great days, it will give an unbalanced view of what this lifestyle is like. Tuesday the weather started out ok, windy but sunny and Lee took advantage to fix some things outside. Our experience with the camper has been sort of a steady stream of minor issues. For us this has largely been fine since Lee is handy plus it gives him something to work on. Occasionally these have turned into larger issues, but mainly they are relatively minor things that Lee can fix. He likes doing it and I feel better knowing he is keeping such a close eye on things. So he spent the morning working on a couple of issues that were minor but could have become major.
The first was the fact that our drainspouts (that drip when the AC is on) are designed terribly and were leaking on one of our slideouts. We know some folks who had a rotted out slideout (its plywood board in there and a tiny leak can cause an issue), so Lee bought a tube to move the water out farther and then gently peeled back the protective coating and saw that indeed some water had gotten into the wood. Since it’s plywood it soaks water up like crazy so he clamped the area open and let it sit in the sun to dry out.
I also should mention here that our water pressure has been very low (mostly under 20 PSI) and I spoke to Hekrem (who runs maintenance here) and asked him to replace the pre-regulated water-spout with a standard one. We have an adjustable water pressure regulator in the rig so we’re protected, and once we removed their “special” regulating spigot we immediately shot up to 40 PSI which is where we like to run. I don’t blame the campground for having regulated water, though. Many weekenders don’t understand how much damage excess water pressure can do and this protects them and their rigs, but as full timers we have a really good handle on that and would rather regulate ourselves. I mention this because it was an eye opener for us. If you are getting low water pressure it may be at the spigot and not the water pressure itself.
Lee also wanted to fix our electric grey water valve. We love the electric valves, but again, poor design. (Not so much a design flaw as an installation flaw. It’s basically a normal valve, with the addition of a small 12v electric motor with a shaft that runs parallel to the “T” handle. The shaft has a ring at the top that slips over one side of the “T” handle, and when the motor pushes the shaft up or down, the ring pushes the “T” handle up or down to open and close the valve. Pretty simple and effective, but since it’s designed to allow you to slip the ring off to manually open or close the valve, the ring snaps into a clip. When it was installed, apparently it wasn’t snapped in properly, so it slipped off. I didn’t understand this because when I “fixed” it the first time, I was on the wrong side of the valve, and didn’t see the clip. I just thought it was due to the angle at which the valve was installed. So I “rigged” it to stay in place, which it did, for a while. This time, I was on the opposite side, and saw the clip. Now that it’s firmly attached, it should work until the end of time. Or thereabouts. – Lee) Since the gravel is pretty sharp here he laid down a tarp under the camper and cut a small hole in the belly pan underneath the rig. The whole time I was talking to some finance people at work about a problem I was having and suddenly my phone rings, and it’s Lee. I did something here I am not proud of, I sent him to voice mail. As soon as I did it I regretted it, but it was an important call and I am very careful about work always coming first during work days. Suddenly part of my brain starts thinking about him lying under the rig and what if he’s hurt but about the time I was going to go check, thankfully he walked in the door. I pointed to the phone, he nodded and that was the end of that, or so I thought. Later that night he told me he had cut the hole a little small and when he got his head up to look, he realized the edges were super sharp and he was worried about cutting his neck on the way back down and wanted me to spot for him. That’s why he called. (That corrugated plastic that our belly pan is made of is razor-sharp on the edges. Once I got my head up in there, I could feel it against my neck, and it really freaked me out. I’ve cut my hands and wrists pretty badly on that stuff in the past, so make sure you make a big enough hole to work in. I usually cut three sides and then just fold it down, to make a little access door. When you’re finished, you can seal up the access door using underbelly tape. It’s great stuff. – Lee) OK, so I am the worst wife ever and note to self when your husband is under the rig and calls you, you should probably see what he wants. So the morning was good, productive, and we even had a couple of animal sightings. Lee got some nice pics from the hummingbird feeder and we saw a doe and two fawn wandering about the treeline near the campground.
Then things changed. The rain came and went and in combination with the increasingly blustery winds he had to come inside. Since he’s working on video I thought this would be a perfect time for him to sit down and dig in but this is where his pacing comes into play. When Lee is working on a video it is a very creative process and takes place initially largely in his brain. The way I understand it is he builds the image in his brain of what the video should look like before he ever starts to edit. So most of the creative process happens while he is “puttering” and once he gets to a place where he knows what he wants to do he starts editing. I get this more than ever, as I partially write many of my blogs in my head as I am going through my day, but since my work consists of more concrete activities involving spreadsheets and project plans and whatnot, it can be frustrating. He’s wandering and thinking and I am sitting and focusing and while that works when both the inside and outside spaces are available not so much on rainy days. Inevitably I will start making suggestions on things he should do which goes about as well as you would expect that it would. Then the sniping starts and it all kind of devolves from there. I will say we are both doing much better about not letting these moments escalate into a full on argument though. We both take a breath now and stop ourselves from going too far, but it can get tense, and again, small spaces don’t help.
As the day wore on though we both settled in and the weather cleared up during dinner. Lee was doing the dishes (I had cooked a chicken and wild rice dish which was OK but not recipe page worthy) and there came a knock on the door. We have been up on this cliff side plateau by ourselves for a whole week. We’re not sure why no one else is staying here, but that’s OK with us because we have this huge space all to ourselves, so I was a bit surprised when I looked out the window and Linda asked if we were up for company. She had a loaf of zucchini bread in her hand and a huge smile on her face and my initial thought was “What a pleasant surprise!” and my second thought was “Oh shit, I am a mess!”. They had just come from having dinner with an RVing couple that read Howard’s blog and Linda looked awesome. I, on the other hand, although showered, was wearing orange shorts, a wrinkled green T-Shirt, and messy hair. I looked vaguely like a rumpled pumpkin. As a general rule I don’t care much about stuff like that, but the rig was on the cluttered side as well. I have never been a great house cleaner and although it is much easier to clean in the small rig it’s also easier to make a mess and those who know me understand I am a messy cook. (Commentary redacted. – Lee) I suppose I could have asked them to stay outside, many people would have, but inviting people into my home who visit is deeply ingrained in my midwestern character so invite them in I did. I did straighten up for a few seconds until Linda kindly said “Let’s just sit down.” and finally I mentally shrugged and thought; the hell with it. We are friends now and it’s probably no secret that I lean towards the messy and just because you could literally eat off Linda’s floor doesn’t mean my floor has to be spotless. By the way, this little melodrama was playing largely in my head, I am sure they didn’t even notice, and certainly didn’t care. All I can say is sometimes my Grandmother’s voice is strong in my head. Lovely woman and a major role model in my life, but her house was always spotless and mine is definitely not. (Additional commentary also redacted. – Lee)
Howard and Lee split our last piece of pie (very unusual for Lee to share pie; he must really like Howard) and Linda and I had a glass of wine which chilled me out quite a bit. Then Lee went outside and built a great fire away from the rig and we sat outside talking for hours. They are really interesting people, great listeners, and provide wonderful insight. Plus, since they have been through many of the things we are now going through, it’s wonderful to hear on occasion, “Yes, we survived that, and came out better as a couple on the other side.”. We also had a beautiful near full moon, and I had bought this small package of campfire color minerals which added some really neat blues and greens to the fire. It was a great night and when I went inside to grab Linda’s purse for her saw it was 11:45pm. We were all surprised it was that late and we got to wish Howard a “happy birthday in 15 minutes” before they left. We are having a joint Lee/Howard birthday dinner on Thursday, which I am really looking forward to since it turns out Howard and Lee’s birthday’s are one day apart. Wednesday however is another rain day so we will see how we get through that first!
- If you are having low water pressure it might be a regulated spigot and not the water pressure itself
- If your drain spot is dripping water on the slide out you should find a way to route it away from the rig.
- Water in the slide out can warp/rot the particle board. It’s very important to keep an eye on this.
- If you are going to cut a hole in the corrugated plastic make sure it’s large enough to freely move your head. Also use underbelly tape.
- If your husband if working under the rig and calls you, take the call!!
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It’s good to hear some of the negative parts of being full time RVers I have been following Linda and Howard for years and my husband tells me all the time I hope you realize it’s not always goi g to be great. We have sold our home and my husband has semi retired this yesterday and we hope to buy some type of RV in the next 12 to 14 months and start travel. Have enjoyed reading your post.
Thanks so much Betty. It truly is waaaay better than not but we do have our days. And the first 6 months can be rough but things really do level out!! Good luck to you wish you all the best.
You crack me up! This blog can become a book! LOVE it!
Thank you honey!!!
Please send some of that rain down here to northwest lower Michigan, Tracy. The storms are going north and south of us, and everything is turning brown over here!
Great post. 🙂
Love the way you tell it like it is…you make me smile;o)) Oh, BTW, a clean house will just get dirty again, but the memories you make with friends will last a lifetime!!!
That is an outstanding point!!