I had a vision in my head of how our first day as full-time RVers would go. We would walk out of our empty house, jump into the front seats of Belvedere (our RV) and we would drive away as the music swelled and the credits rolled; the end of one episode of our lives and the start of something new. But, life… isn’t a movie. Though, at times, it IS a comedy.
On June 1st, 2020 we moved out of the house so we could finish doing all the projects we needed to do to get the house on the market. The biggest one was replacing the carpet on the top two floors. We needed the cats to be out of the house so they wouldn’t have to chance to…ahem…make the new carpet theirs. If you know what I mean.
The drive away from the house was anything but triumphant. A pavement crew showed up that morning and began tarring the cracks in our parking lot. Suddenly, we were worried about Belvedere getting tarred in the process, but the crew had a huge truck that blocked the exit. When it finally drove off to get lunch we fled our parking lot to the nearby Blue Beacon truck wash with Carolyn driving Belvedere and me chasing in our Honda Element. Once washed, we checked in at the campground, parked, hooked up water and power then Carolyn set up her laptop and got back to work. That night, after work, we began the process of moving into the RV until we collapsed, exhausted.
After working from home together for months, we now found ourselves with a morning commute. Each morning we would get up, have coffee, then drive from the campground back to the house where Carolyn still had her office set up and, while she worked, I worked on the house; touching up paint, pressure washing and sealing the deck, cleaning the outside of the house and fixing up the flowerbeds. It was a busy month. Every day we arrived back at the RV late in the evening, ate dinner and went to bed. We only took two days off to enjoy our new home and our wonderful new neighbors. By the way, our neighbors are the folks we met last fall and wrote about here and I’ll have more to say about the campground in a future post.
At times it felt like we would never get to the finish line! The day before we got the real estate photos taken we had to replace the toilet in the main bathroom! But, we did make it! The house finally went on the market on July 2nd. We took the fourth of July weekend off to enjoy the lake.
However, the work isn’t over. We are still purging items as we discover we brought over too much stuff. The Honda has boxes of things we are working our way through. Some will be kept, some will get donated, some will get stored and some more will be trashed. Our storage unit was so carefully packed at first, but, the closer we got to our deadline the more we stashed stuff in it like a drug dealer with cops at the door! Now we have to get it organized. Yay!
All in all the first month felt like we dove in then spent the month holding on to the side of the pool. We got an offer on the house this week so, we’ll see how that plays out. We are here at this campground until the end of July then we off to a service appointment at the RV dealer in St. Louis. Until then, we still have a lot to do. But, at least now, we can also take some time to enjoy the experience of camping as well. Maybe a swim and s’mores tonight!
So, what lessons have we learned in our first month of RV life?
- It’s definitely not a vacation. We still work, pay bills, buy groceries and do all the work to keep house. Heck, we haven’t even travelled, yet, so it’s like moving to a very small fixer-upper.
- You really don’t need as much as you think you do. After 5 yard sales, selling countless things on E-Bay or Facebook Marketplace, endless trips Goodwill and the dump we find that we STILL HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!
- Patience is more than a virtue, it’s a necessity! So is a sense of humor! Living in a small space with another person is challenging. You WILL hear things and, worse, smell things and invariably you will get in each other’s way so tension mounts fast! Which leads me to…
- Communication, Communication, Communication! We went from a 2100 square foot house to a twenty five foot RV. There is no place to go cool off if you’re angry. There isn’t even a door to slam! Like it or not, you have to work out issues when they happen. And they will, because; I may have mentioned this; it’s a TINY space!
- Actively look for joy. We’ve been stationary so there aren’t any exciting new places to explore, yet. We’ve been eyeball deep in getting the house ready and all the things we used to do for fun; going to the movies, eating out and shopping; have been taken off the table by Covid 19 so it’s really easy to get in a funk about it all. To counter that we’ve had to really look for things that bring us joy. Our campground sits on the edge of a beautiful lake that we get to go play in. We have better neighbors than we ever had in our sticks and bricks house. We spend more time outdoors than we have in years and there really is something wonderful about sitting outside watching the lake as the sun goes down. All these wonderful little things that we could easily have taken for granted in our old life are now vital to keeping the funk at bay.
- RVer’s, in general, are wonderful people and they are ready to lend a hand if needed. And, as a newbie believe me, it’s needed! All you have to do is ask and be ready to pitch in if you’re needed.