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Keeping It Real

It’s 5am, and I think I’ve slept all of 5 minutes. Pretty sure I’m anxiously awaiting the sun’s appearance so I can work outside in my #1 preferred workspace because today I have a brand new view of amazing mountains and saguaros!
 
Sounds luxurious, huh? Let’s back up one day. Yesterday was a travel day. Let’s talk about the necessary evils of school, work, travel days, electricity, and showering. Not necessarily in that order.
 
Travel Day(s)
Our workflow now includes two travel days. A pre-travel day and a travel day. The pre-travel day is used to break down the bicycles, load the toy hauler, clean, do laundry, and shower. I don’t think there has been a single travel day where any of us have showered. Pre-travel and travel days are still work/school days, so we have to balance. On those days, tension runs high as you can image. A few times every hour during those high-tension periods we have many thoughts of rehoming the kids. Unfortunately, there is not enough time to write a Craigslist post, wait for a response, and meet. After all, we don’t really want to meet up with anyone while the camper is in tow. It’s too much work to navigate a city; there is no need to add additional navigation challenges to our travel day. So far each campground has provided a challenge either entering or leaving. Yesterday, my extremely skilled driver had to back our 45’ home out of the camp spot, make an immediate 90 degree turn, and back down the length of the small campground with the goal of not hitting other campers or the bath/laundry facility. He did excellent! I’m talking first try excellent. I was standing with one of the men that lived in the campground and he said “I’ve seen so many people try to back-up their RV and they are not good. He, however, is very good. He’s from Texas so I’m not surprised.” I didn’t tell him that Chris is actually from California. Needless detail, right? At this very moment, we were all excited to hit the road and so very proud of our skilled driver! All is good. A mere 5 minutes later we’re navigating the streets of Silver City and wishing we had taken the time to write that Craigslist ad. Thankfully, Chris and I have very few of those same thoughts towards each other. I can attest this success to our “training opportunities” experienced a few years ago.
 
Work
We’re out of town and I start making phone calls and writing emails. Have to call my mom because I never called her on Thanksgiving due to zero cell service in Big Bend. Luckily, she wasn’t the least bit mad at me. Whew! I receive a few phone calls from a friend about helping her do some design work for a billboard. Of course I’ll help! Luckily we are on I–10 and have excellent internet and cell service. I download all of the files because I’m not certain how wifi will be when we get to our new backyard. Then, I receive an email from one of my favorite people at Rowan. His emails always contain only a few words “Please call me when you get a chance.” No, I’m not in trouble. Thankfully every time I’ve received one of those emails I’ve had good cell service and have not let him down! After all, how could I deny him the chance to chastise me? “Are you working today? Are you even out of bed? Are you still in your pj’s? How is homeschooling going for the kids? Why don’t I see any pictures of them studying? Why are all of your pictures glamorous?” The following section is for you!
 
School
Cody was enrolled in K12 since the beginning of the year. Welllllllll… um, we’ve had some difficulties. The all A’s and 1-B kid was… um… not that. Like, at all. Was it necessarily his fault given his parents were extremely distracted with selling all of our belongs and finishing up “chores” for months? Probably not. Again, always trying to look at things as an opportunity (but only on non-travel days when we aren’t contemplating a CL ad) to make improvements. We aren’t paying school taxes anymore, so let’s enroll the kids in the same program many private schools are using: A Beka. After all, why on earth would we want to save money or put those funds towards a trip to Disneyland? In a furry, while at Medina Lake, we drive into San Antonio to visit a home school retail store. When the lady said “For some reason, it seems like the whole city knows when we have a used A Beka book because everyone comes in to buy it. They don’t ever last long.” We purchase a $3 book from her out of obligation, thank her for her time and expertise, leave, and make a phone call to A Beka. In a second furry, I “phone a friend” and ask if we can take up a ton of space in her home for a week. Yes, because it guarantees her the chance to see us almost immediately upon our AZ arrival. The 6 boxes of books are shipped to her home in Ahwatukee, AZ. On Saturday we are going to pick the books up and Monday the new school program starts. I’m not going to lie – Chris and I basically stopped caring about school Monday last week between the Thanksgiving holiday and knowing they would both start a new program. This means no more state testing. It also means we do not have to return to Texas in the spring. Which resulted in adjusting travel reservations accordingly in order to meet one of our wishes: show the kids what Yosemite looks like in early May during the snow run-off. That is, if the kids aren’t re-homed on a travel day between now and then. We actually have a solution in the works for this too! We extended our Arizona stay by 4 weeks to coincide with a convenient time to meet up with Chris’ parents! We are all meeting up, in our RV’s, in southern California in February. They don’t know it yet, but their children have strong beliefs about the need for them to bond and make lifelong memories with their grandchildren on travel days. Just sayin’…
 
Electricity
“Can I shower? Can I make coffee?” Well that depends. Are we powering the RV with solar, generator, 30 amp, or 50 amp? Above the luxuries of a shower or coffee, we must first take into consideration the internal temperature of the metal box which is our home. The metal box by nature wants to be either really hot or really cold. The amount of available power determines how and and the speed in which we heat/cool said metal home. We try to stay ahead of extreme internal temperatures. From there, we charge (or don’t charge) devices. Eat hot food (or cereal). Shower (or don’t). For the next 13 days we are boondocked. Meaning, we have no sewer, power, or water hookups. We filled our onboard tanks: water and gas. Our bank of 6 golf cart batteries are fully charged. My epic driver is also an epic battery hawk. Have you ever felt like someone was following you? “I feel like you’re kind of stalking me by watching how much power I consume on a device.” He is quickly learning how many amps everything in this camper draws. It takes 7 amps to charge 1 laptop, 2 phones, and 2 watches. When running on solar we only have about 20 amps total. Though, it’s not totally off-grid living the next two weeks. We’re using hot showers and water provided by the campground.
 
Showers
There is no rhyme or reason to showering. How much time do I have until the next scheduled event? Does this event involve being in a fancier public place than Walmart? Will I have time to shower after the event? How many gallons of hot water do I have available to me to determine length of shower? To put it another way: do I shave my legs today or wait a day? At the moment, I’m waiting for the sun to come up and warm the outside space a little before walking to and from the shower.
 
The struggles are real, y’all.
 
The sun also really needs to come up NOW because I’ve been awake for hours waiting to go outside to start my workday on my deck! Drinking coffee.
 
Okay, maybe the struggles aren’t all that bad. We have unexpected problems, and we either solve them or make adjustments. Its all about our mindset, really. Life is grand, except on travel days.

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