Living in an RV not for Fun and Recreation

Monday, March 14, 2011

Shower Power

After several weeks staying with a friend helping her move and settle into her new place, I'm once again back at the Motor Home. It was nice while it lasted, being able to pretend I had a real life for a few minutes, instead of this miserable existence. I guess now it's time to check back into reality.

It's amazing how easily we take things like flush toilets stoves, light switches, walls, heat, and most of all bathtubs for granted when we never have to go without. Sure, we may go "roughing it" by using a vault toilet at a campground a few times in the summer, but at least they are spacious when compared to the miniature closet that serves as our bathroom. Taking a shower in here is practically an all morning endeavor when you include the time it takes to remove everything being stored in the stall, turning on the sputtery drizzle just enough to wet yourself down, lathering up in the freezing cold air, turning it back on to rinse off, having the water run out after five minutes (if you're lucky), waiting another fifteen for more to heat up so you can finish the job, drying out the stall with your towel, and finally replacing all the stuff that has to go back in because there's nowhere else to store it. (And if you think that's a mouthful to read, try doing it sometime!) Bathing is literally such a chore, that I even stooped to washing my hair in a grocery store bathroom sink once because it was a single room with a lock, and a glorious flow of warm forced-air during a particularly cold -and desperate- December evening.

Since then, I have discovered that the RV park on the other side of the freeway (where Mom used to reside) still has the same combination on their bathroom door. After the office closes for the night it's very easy to simply drive in, slip into the heated building, and take a glorious high-pressure shower with a virtually endless hot water supply. When you are going into your second week without a clean body, you quickly come to understand the phrase "desperate times call for desperate measures." Or in this case, desperate times call for slightly unethical measures. And also, if a roll of toilet paper just happens to go missing, I'm sure it's purely coincidental. **whistling...**

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Congratulations, You've Won a Brand New Headcold"

I don't know what it is about the last couple of years, but can't seem to stop getting sick or injured.  It's like I won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes of crappy life circumstances.  "Winner will receive loss of employment, breakdown of vehicle, miserable living accommodations, a minimum of three visits to the ER per year,  and a rapid succession of colds and flues." Woo-hoo! I'm a winner!  Waaaaaaait a minute...

Since I've been living in the motor home, I've been to the hospital twice.  Once was for an actual emergency which included a CT scan, and the second time was because the urgent care clinic in town didn't know how to accept my insurance card and told me to go to the Emergency Room.  I've had bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, a seizure, strange episodes of all over malaise, and more than my share of the usual winter offerings.

Until yesterday, I had been recovered from a lengthy head cold for approximately one week.  I kid you not.  Now I am stuffed up with a drippy nose, sore throat, and the all-over-oogies. To make myself feel better, I made a favorite dessert from France called "Pots de Creme." So delicious, until my gall bladder started doing back-flips.  I just can't win!

Monday, February 21, 2011

In Memorium

This weekend we had to have my Mom's beloved 12 year old Red Heeler mix Dottie put down. She was a quiet dog with a timid personality. Her favorite thing was being wherever Mom was. Unfortunately she had gotten sick, and though the vet saw her and diagnosed her as having Pancreatitis, their office would not allow Mom to bring her back for a follow up or to be euthanized since there was an outstanding balance on the account. Poor Dottie suffered in pain for several weeks, having accidents on the floor, and couldn't even get up on the bed anymore during her final days. With the help of a friend who did the calling around for us, we were able to find a local humane society that would put her down for no cost.

We took her in on Friday, and I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the office manager and vet techs who helped us with everything.  They were caring and compassionate with Dottie and with us during the entire process. We were allowed to take her remains, and on Saturday we buried her next to a dog that belonged to one of Mom's friends. Mom can visit the grave whenever she wants, and we are planning to paint a rock to serve as a marker.

My concern now shifts to Mom.  I have been helping a friend move and get settled in a new place, so I have been away from the motor home.  Mom stayed with me over the weekend, but will be alone for the next few nights until I get back. She struggles with loneliness and depression, and since we don't have cable TV to help keep her attention occupied, I worry she will have a hard time dealing with everything. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's How I Get My Follies

Since we got the tire fixed, I was able to get out of the motor home this morning to use "real" internet at the library. In a celebratory mood, I stopped at the convenience store to get a Monster Cookie and a bottle of Coke, proclaiming as I went out the door "I'm going to sneak these into the Library!"

Once there, I settled into the corner spot in the little alcove that has a long table and several outlets for the laptop users. I set my bag and purse on the chair next to me and made a little bunker to hide my contraband. After devouring my chocolate chipper, and downing about half the Coke, I put the remnants in my bag and continued with the serious business of playing on Facebook and Googling random things.

Across and down the table an older woman sat on her laptop with a series of maps spread around her. She would look at her screen, and then confer with her maps - out loud. Every. single. thing. she. did. she spoke audibly. Not wanting to be impolite, I simply chose to put on my headphones to drown her out. Wait, where are my headphones? $#*! my friend's teenage daughter used them and didn't put them back!  Uggh, I guess I'll just watch this Youtube video with the volume really low; the old lady won't be able to hear anything over her own voice anyway...

Never try to watch a video of people singing campfire songs in a library. They start out nice and quiet, so you turn the speaker up so you can hear the words,and then 20 seconds in suddenly the song changes and it's all out YELLING. As I'm fumbling with the volume control, mouth breather lady pipes up "can you turn that down please!"  I respond that I'm trying and apologize as politely as I can considering the computer is taking this moment to freeze the volume control. As I get it back down to barely audible, she starts packing up her things and mumbling something about being done for the day. Thank goodness! Since I'm now alone, I turn the speaker up a hair so I can hear it a little better, when a gentleman sits down. Before I have a chance to just turn the thing off, a librarian comes over and tells me to turn it down, indicating that he was informed it was too loud. OH MY GAWD! So not only does this battle-ax yak away when other people are trying to work, she has the nerve to tattle on me for the whopping 30 seconds or so she was inconvenienced by my audio issue! 

No problem, I had already decided it was too much of a pain to deal with anyway. I turn it off, and decide to play more Frontierville, with the volume off of course. A couple comes over to the table and sits down. I'm harvesting wheat for my latest mission.  As a wave of thirst comes over me, I reach into my laptop bag only to grasp a bottle that is dripping with wet, sticky Coke.  Oh. no.  I peer inside to see an inch of  sugary liquid resting at the bottom, with crumbs from an old bagel floating around like it's Labor Day at the lake.

As quickly as I can I rush to the bathrooms at the end of the hall. Locked. %#@$! I go down the stairs to the main bathroom, and grab a stack of paper towels from the dispenser. As quietly as I can, I slip back upstairs to my seat, and start soaking up as much liquid as I can, and drying off the (luckily)few little things that were inside. The "Please don't eat or drink in the Library" sign is staring me in the face, and I can feel the eyes of the others at the table searing into the back of my neck.  Calgon take me away!!! 

I took the bag down to the bathroom, that was thankfully empty, where I cleaned it out the rest of the way. Once again I rejoined the table, making sure not to make eye contact for the rest of the time I was there which was gratefully uneventful.

The Tire Saga: Part Deux

So, it turns out that Mom can get two tires paid for by the Employment Dept. since the job she has is part of a training program for seniors through their office. (goody!) However, they require two written estimates and then it takes ten days for the funds to be approved. Since I was with a friend who has a phone, I was able to call around to various tire shops to get an idea of the cost. But we needed a tire immediately, and even though we've had no luck finding a used tire before, I decided to give it a shot again and this time I lucked out!  Now we just had to come up with the $40 for it.

I called another friend who had offered some money to me, and thanks to her extreme generousity we had what we needed. The next step was to call the husband of one of Mom's friends to help us get the wheel off and over to the tire store. We arrived right after they opened at 8am, and after a few minutes of waiting the Tech came over to us.  "We have an Opps," he said. It turned out the tire they had was marked a 15" but was really a 14". Crap.  The next option was to try the wrecking yard, which of course didn't open till 9am. So we waited, and after digging through the inside and outdoor stacks, we finally found a single tire with the right specs. We paid the $15, and hoped we had enough to get it installed.

Back to the tire shop we went, and when we arrived the Tech felt so bad about having the wrong tire, he installed it for free!  That meant we had $25 left over until Mom gets paid. Which turned out to be a really good thing, because yesterday the space heater stopped working and we had to get a new one... And so it goes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Like Robinson Crusoe...

Alright, so it may not be as primitive as can be, but it's getting a little too close for comfort.  This week while I was away helping a friend move, Mom's car got a flat on the front driver's side. Not a problem, just use the spare, right? Think again. The spare is already replacing a flat on the front passenger side. Last month we went to every tire place and wrecking yard in town trying to find a replacement. Apparently used 15 inch tires are harder to find than a Yeti. In a snowstorm. Plus, with only $30 to last until a week from Friday, even if we found one, the cost would leave us flat broke. The only solution available at the moment is for her to disconnect the Motor home from everything, drive it to work, and reconnect it all when she gets home.

While this may seem do-able, and for the short-term it is, it hides another problem which is far greater: while she's working, I'm going to be stuck inside it, all. day. long. And, - wait for it - with no electricity!  This means no TV, no computer, no microwave, and no glue gun.  Oh, and let's not to leave out running water to flush the toilet. Eww-y.  I can't even call anyone because we have no minutes.
Next week it's going to get even more fun, because Mom's schedule is changing from five half days per week, to two full ones, and a half. Yay, eight hours with absolutely nothing to do! I guess now is a good a time to start writing to that new pen-pal in prison I've always wanted. Oh wait, I'm allergic to murder, crap.     

So let's see, no phone, no lights, no motorcar... Nope, not a single luxury. At least the seven stranded castaways had each other to talk to.  I've got nuthin'.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I want your Socks

Lieutenant Dan was right.  And just like in Nam, in a motor home socks will save your life. It doesn't matter what the weather is like outside, the extra rug on the floor barely helps, it doesn't matter if the heater is blowing directly on my feet; my tootsies are cold.  Even wearing shoes.  You would be more likely to see an octopus rocketing to Mars than a person walking around here barefoot. 

If you want to get technical about it, it has to do with airflow.  In a site-built home you have a foundation that the dwelling sits on which creates a buffer between the ground and the house.  In a manufactured home, the house sits on cement blocks, but the exposed area underneath is covered all the way around by "skirting."  In an RV though, the space is open, so the air flows as freely as it pleases; which pleases me none, because it makes the floor cold, and thus my sensitive little toes! 

To combat this, it is essential that socks be worn at all times.  On cold days, I've been known to wear two pairs, the outer of which usually gives the impression that my feet were created in the Jim Henson workshop.  If the temperature is insanely freezing, I will even put my Wellies on top to trap the body heat in. Which of course look fabulous with any outfit.  Who could deny that rubber boots that look like yellow converse high-tops are the utmost in haute couture!

The down side to all of this, is that due to the lack of readily available laundry facilities, and the even greater lack of quarters, I wear my socks for several days at a time.  Since it's impractical to put shoes on to walk five feet to the bathroom, my socks are starting to take on an appearance resembling something you might see in some post-apocalyptic time-traveling film, where if my middle school aged self came forward in time to see the grungy footwear on my middle-aged self, she would exclaim "Grody to the MAX!"  Well okay, I guess my socks wouldn't be the only thing she'd take issue with...