Monday, July 10, 2017

Reality Check: What Happens In the Camper Stays In The Camper

Whew, what an adventure we survived. Yes, past tense, we are out of the camper!
Goodbye RV, we will be talking about you for a VERY long time! We promise we won't ever forget you.

But wait you say-you wanted to hear some of our stories, right?  I promised to tell some of our stories, thus the title, "What happens in the camper, Stays In the Camper". I cannot express in words the amazing, hairy (there was a huge hairy mishap with a wild dog and cat), freezing, hot, cramped, stressed and wild adventure in one little post. So I'll be sharing over a series of posts of our stories. I think today I want to share a couple of the crazy of craziest stories.
Our normal day, pre-camper, included managing the day with home school, toddler tantrums, laundry, meals and snacks, cleaning up messes and outdoor play, and hours of bedtime drama.  Now it included the same momentum packed in one day but just in a tiny space that felt very much like a bounce house in a large closet, to be real about it. Maybe I can share my true feelings toward the end of our stay and just title it "Camper Alcatraz"! Those first few days were very uncertain and included moments of "What have we gotten ourselves into" to "this is like a really nice getaway" and the next minute something would go out so back to, "I can't make it another day in here".

I guess the most epic of obstacles was the One Bathroom Port-O-Potty is what we called it.  These troubles are certainly staying IN the camper, we won't be having to experience these again, I PRAY!

The tiny little toilet was right next to the table where we ate and guess who would have to "poo" right at meal time?  There was at least one of us who had to "go".  Now before I go into deatils let me explain that I'm fixing to share a really vivid picture of the porta-potty, I meant bathroom, right?
So there's some rules on upon using our camper bathroom and here it goes:

#1 Please shut the door

#2 Please keep the door shut and make sure to turn on the fan BEFORE you go. Even when using the fan, expect everyone at the meal table to complain when you go.  The smells you smell will waift throughout the RV. I remember many meals there so for the kids sake I use these terms: TunaPoo Casserole, Turdle Pie, Poowich and chips, Spaghettie and Tootieballs, BakedPooTatoes, well you get the picture. Every 'stinkin' meal.

#3 Make sure you open the roof window before you turn on the fan  even if it is 20 degrees outside.  You'll experience an "Olaf" type of frozen experience while you drop your drawers and in the summer be ready to experience the "Sauna" inside the camper bathroom-It's a steamy pooful experience you'll never forget. Just like the spa but more like a spa at the landfill!

#4 (we discover WAY later)Push the water pedal before you "go" to fill it partially with water  otherwise things remain in the "bowl"

#5 Don't be afraid to ask for a fork, someone close by will have a plastic one handy and you can use it to push your stubborn poo down the Luxury Gravity Flush Potty! It is a privilege to push down your child's poo, especially in the middle of your meal!

#6 Only use RV approved septic safe toilet paper and DO NOT cram toilet paper on top of your poo, it will only stop up

#7 Make sure to use RV only dirty water toilet cleaner regularly or the smell will EAT your lunch

#8 Make sure you turn the fan off and close the ceiling window shortly after going or the smells from the septic will come back into the RV

#9 If you plan to use the portoPotty for more than your allotted time, expect to be yelled at as there are 4 others waiting to use the John

#10 If you are in there a long time just go ahead and use your time wisely and brush your teeth, shave your legs, whatever you normally do, you can reach everything in the bathroom! Expect many bumps and bruises as you adjust or attempt to find room for your elbows as you shimmy into the toilet square footage.

#11 If you plan on sitting on the Gravity Flush potty, just expect to feel as though you are on a plane with turbulence, don't expect to be undisturbed in any way since there is also not a lock on the door! Yes while everyone is eating their dinner, expect a toddler to show everyone that Mommy is going poo poo!

#12 Expect to be yelled at yet again if you dare open the door to pull up your drawers, no one likes to see a shiny hiney staring at you while you eat!

#13 Expect there to be drops of ice cold water in the winter to drop on your back and head while you use the facilities! It is a sensational experience especially in the winter! Any water condensation has no where to go in the winter. Make sure the de-humidifier is on and you have an accurate tool to measure the humidity and temperature. Expect your potty room to also be really cold or really hot, depending upon the outside temp.

#14  Plan to have Internet service available if you happen to need to know how to unstop the toilet, especially in emergency when one might have the stomach bug, for random and rare instance. You will need to know what to do when using the gravity flush toilet. 

 #15  Know that at least one person out of 6 will have to go outside in the woods at least once, or twice or use a bucket to throw up in or use the facilities in.

#16 Don't EVER flush while someone is in the shower better yet don't use the toilet while someone is in the shower-your face will be in their bum behind the shower curtain

While in the beginning of our first week in the camper I suddenly realized that my idea of it being easy and completely doable, after all it was to only be temporary housing, was completely out the window.  Unlike any camping trip I've ever been on, oh wait, I've never been camping more than one night before.  I had my doubts and complete denial of the obstacles I was to be facing, but when the challenges came I found myself digging to the deepest core of my being to overcome these survival mountains.

We knew God had provided what we had needed and it was JUST THAT, only.  Just simply a step up from camping in the wilderness for sure. Some people call it glamping but it is not called that past the one to two week camping trip. My experience was similar to a show called Survivor Man.  I know it was NOT complete survivor mode but pretty close by way of not normal, easy, convenient or comfortable way of living.  I think if it would have been just me and my husband, it wouldn't have been so hard. But you bring into this tiny little camper 4 more human beings, a 9 year old hyper soccer player and homeschooler, a 5 year old ballet, karate fighter driven, hyper little chatty demanding girl, then go ahead and add a very jumpy, climbing screaming lil' 2 yr old who doesn't like naps or bedtime, plus a 6 month old happy non-independent lil' baby who hasn't learned to self soothe to sleep or crawl...yes people, we had a CIRCUS goin' on in there.

So, flash back to that first week. I remember looking inside the fridge and thinking we would make it problem.  We had little groceries from our house when it sold so I went to the store and racked up small things and tried to plan for propane stove cooking. I brought very little cooking utensils. I began unloading my groceries and well they didn't fit. Somehow I managed to cram them into nooks and crannies of the small cabinets and the fridge and freezer were stuffed so much I could barely close the door! I decided I would need my deep freezer set up but no where to put it.  My husband had already planned to build a small storage building and  set up the washer and dryer and put a deep freezer and our school supplies in there.

I was so excited to know that I would at least have that to lean on for a little comfort instead of running to walmart every couple of days to get food and running to the laundry mat with all of our family's clothes.

So the first day, to be exact, I came to the quick reality that cooking beyond the crock pot would mean strategy planning around the fuse box in the camper.  That meant cooking one thing at a time unless we wanted to spend tons of money per month for propane on the stove and oven.  It also meant if we had the air turned on we couldn't run anything else beyond a tv or stereo at the same time.  You mine as well forget using the microwave along with anything or the vacuum for sure!

My first 911 call to the RV owner was on this exact issue.  They had told us that the amps were limited so I never really figured the reality of that, but anyway, first thing the fuse box cuts off the electricity.  It's a guessing game sometimes if you don't know what tripped the breaker and trying different things to see if it's the fuse or the breaker box outside or an outlet needing to be reset.  So mid dinner of a screaming and HANGRY crew ,there I was.  Trying to figure out all this electrical stuff and cook dinner.  It turned out, after many switches inside, to switch the main breaker.  So here I go.  Baby's in the high chair strapped into the bunker seat at the small table, toddler is strapped into the baby high chair strapped onto a toddler chair and the others warned to stay there to watch the littles until I get back!
Fuse Box in Bunk room: it stays running all the time

So out I tramp out behind the camper and flip the switch. Only after a few more incidences I learned that dinner was going to be a long time away so we decided to have a snack until I could get myself together.  It was still nice weather outside that first week so I would often send my son outside to get his nervous energy out.  There were 9 acres total but limited amount of play space since the mower hadn't come yet to clear the tall grasses so he would run around the camper and run the driveway.

I'm tellin' ya, I'm only scratching the surface here. So keep sharing and I will keep you entertained with plenty of reality checks. I can  help you be so thankful you are able to live in a comfortable and convenient permanent home. You also might re-consider staying in a camper for very long at all! LOL

Please feel free to write your thoughts here, I'd love to read them!
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