Trial Run #1 – Squeaky doors and midnight bathroom trips
As you may or may not know, my husband and I are planning for our retirement years. They are a lot closer than they were yesterday and quite honestly, it’s a bit scary to think about.
We’ve read about people who live in their RV full-time and felt this might be a great option for us. So the search began for just the right type and size of RV. In my previous post called RV Minimalist Wannabe, I wrote how we started out with a small 25′ pull behind, but quickly realized that size was better suited for short vacations. We turned our attention to fifth wheels and bingo…we discovered great layouts with much more living space and storage. We decided to search for a fifth wheel mainly because they are supposed to pull better and be more stable travelling. A salesman told us, “That’s why it’s called a fifth wheel. It actually becomes part of your truck instead of something being pulled behind your truck.” That made perfect sense to me.
Prayers continued for God to show us THE one and He did. We bought a 35′ fifth wheel from a couple who lived very close to us. They had never been on a vacation with it, but had only lived in it while they built their house and then used it on their property for guests. It was in pristine condition considering it was 12 years old.
That purchase set us on another prayer journey. Since God showed us which one to buy, were we to sell our home and go full-time before retirement? This could be very beneficial because it would allow us to put our mortgage payment into savings for the time when we can’t work. We are one of thousands, maybe millions, who have no retirement account. That’s what I mean when I say thinking of retirement is scary. And if God is telling us to sell, can we really handle full-time RV living?
These prayers began in November 2016 and as I’m writing, it is now May 2017. God has not given us any signs that we are to sell yet, so we just continue to make little changes to the RV that fits us better.
For example, it came with a very uncomfortable sleeper sofa and 2 recliners. The sofa had to weigh about a thousands pounds, so one day I mentioned to my husband that we should take it out and spread out the recliners. Since there are just 2 of us, we don’t need all that seating. I left the house one day to run some errands and when I got back, Marshall had manhandled that sofa out of the RV. Sheesh! He thinks he’s superman and I guess he could be because that sofa is now out the narrow door, down 4 steps, and sitting in our garage.
We have spent the last few months just sitting inside trying to imagine living in it full time. It doesn’t really help much when we can get up and walk back into our spacious home at anytime, so we decided we should see what it was actually like to live full time in this thing.
My husband’s work is such that he can’t take off right now, but we didn’t want to wait until he could, so we came up with a brilliant plan. We would attempt our trial run while it is sitting on our property right outside our front door. Now we have 3 acres, so it’s not like we’re parked in the front yard, but the house is close enough that we’ll have to be very diligent to act like it’s not there.
Yesterday, I stocked the RV with everything I could think of including our toiletries, food items, clothes for a week, and our dog’s things. I spent a good bit of time trying to figure out where to put Emma’s food and water bowls!
I brought in some of our small furnishings like an end table and my dining room chairs. They are so much lighter to move around than the standard RV chairs, plus, using some of our own things made it feel more homey. As I took a moment to catch my breath, I looked around and my heart smiled. Yeah, I might could get used to this.
So, after all my preparation and stocking up, our first overnight was quite the fiasco! I didn’t think to check the weather forecast and it dropped down into the 40’s. The RV came with a heat pump/AC unit, but the heat doesn’t seem to work very well. I think we will have to get it checked out because it kept cycling on and off every stinking minute…not kidding! Around 2 o’clock, my husband threw back the covers and got up to turn it off so we could get some sleep! That left us with no heat. In an RV, the temps will change very rapidly because it’s not insulated as well as a wood or brick home. My space heaters were put up and I didn’t think to store any extra blankets, so we shivered through the night and endured.
The next issue came from being in a strange environment at 3 o’clock in the morning when you have to take your nightly bathroom trek. In our layout, there is one step down into the bathroom area. When you’re half awake and can’t remember where you are, you tend to miss that step. When you finally stumble into the (excuse me for using this next word) toilet room, you discover how big your body is and how small they make those rooms. Close quarters doesn’t even begin to describe it. You’re trying so hard to be quiet, but elbows are hitting the walls, the toilet flushes like a jet engine, and the door hinges need some major oiling! Not to mention, the whole RV shakes when you walk.
Next, there was the increase of noise. I am a light sleeper, so I normally wear ear plugs when sleeping. But even without them in our regular home, I rarely notice cars going by or dogs barking. Our house is very well insulated. However, the RV has single pane windows and not near the insulation and of course, I had forgotten my ear plugs. I heard every car and loud truck passing by. Who knew our neighbors stayed out so late. I wondered if that loud truck might be criminals casing our home for a future burglary or was it just someone going to work on the night shift. The point being made here is I shouldn’t have been thinking about who was riding around all hours of the night. I should have been sleeping peacefully with a sweet smile on my face.
Last, but not least, I will add one more disturbance in the force. My husband gets up early for work and in an RV, you can forget about sleeping when someone is only inches away from your side of the bed taking a shower, brushing his teeth, and getting dressed. It’s amazing how loud a shirt can be sliding over someone’s head.
So, can we handle full-time RV living? The jury is still out. Last night definitely could have been better, but I’m not quite ready to give up yet. My husband and I have already been texting things we need to do before tonight, such as putting a foam pad on the bed and finding those space heaters. And you can bet, I’ll be looking for the WD-40 to oil that toilet room door.
Let me end this on a good note lest I scare someone completely away from purchasing an RV. There were some good moments. I managed to make homemade biscuits in the convection/microwave oven and successfully heat up a pasta dish from the night before. This morning, I took a long shower without running out of hot water. I slid open the window shades revealing the awakening warmth of the sun and my spirit began to lift. Sitting in my recliner drinking some deliciously warm coffee, I spent a few quiet moments with my Lord and last night’s frustrations slowly faded away.
Reminds me of a scripture out of Lamentations 3:23:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end,
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Yeah, I might could get used to this.
Until next time,
P.S. Read the next RV journal entry here.